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Hampton gets rematch with rival New Castle

| Thursday, March 13, 2014, 10:36 p.m.
Hampton's Trace McConnell, left, hauls down a rebound over Jake Tarasovitch, middle, and teammate Chandler McKinney, right, during the first half at Farrell Area High School in Farrell, Pa., on March 13. JARID A. BARRINGER/

FARRELL — Hampton's David Huber had 15 points and three teammates scored in double figures Thursday night as the WPIAL runner-up showed its depth in a 67-45 victory over District 10 champion Erie McDowell in a PIAA Class AAAA second-round matchup.

With nine points in the third quarter, Huber fueled a 26-5 run that secured another matchup with rival New Castle in Saturday's quarterfinals.

Ryan Luther had 14 points, Joey Lafko had 12 and Collin Luther added 10, including the 1,000th of his career with a fourth-quarter free throw. But with the Luthers in early foul trouble, the Talbots at times relied heavily on their bench and three other starters. Junior guard Joey Lafko scored all of his points in the first half.

“Collin and Ryan are great players, but we had some big plays from other people tonight,” said Hampton coach Joe Lafko, who needed to use five players from his bench.

“It's the true characteristic of a good team when other guys can pick you up.”

Hampton and New Castle have met eight times in the past three seasons, and New Castle has won them all. That includes two regular-season victories this season and a win last month in the WPIAL Class AAAA final at Palumbo Center.

A site and time for this rematch has not been announced.

“New Castle is a great team,” Lafko said. “We have to play a very good basketball game to beat them. But I think that if there's one team in the WPIAL that has a chance to beat them, it's us.”

Hampton lost to Erie Cathedral Prep in last year's PIAA second round, a matchup also played at Farrell. But Hampton won convincingly this time over another District 10 champion.

Ahead by only four at halftime, Hampton opened the second half with eight straight points that led to a 26-5 run.

A layup and foul shot by Ryan Luther just 7 seconds into the third quarter sparked the run.

“Our freshness was able to create some offense from our defense,” Lafko said.

Ryan Luther sat out much of the first half with two first-quarter fouls. His second came with 1:04 left in the quarter. After scoring just four first-half points, Ryan Luther had 10 in the second and Hampton pulled away.

Hampton's lead reached 20 points after a 3-pointer by Huber. With 2:50 left in the third, the Talbots led 46-26.

The fourth-quarter lead never fell below 17 points.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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