PENNSYLVANIA New Castle wins with clutch effort
The Hurricanes won their fourth straight game by beating Shaler.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Although the New Castle High boys basketball team has won eight of its first 12 starts, one thing is certain: Few, if any of the wins, have come easy.
That included Friday night's 58-52 win over Shaler in a WPIAL Section 3-AAAA contest.
The Hurricanes' win was their fourth straight, including three that gave them the Blackhawk Tournament title over Christmas.
"What they are showing is they are finding ways to win the close ball games," New Castle coach John Sarandrea said. "That is not to say that we are going to win every close game, but at least it is one hurdle we have cleared."
Trailing 28-26 at the break, the Hurricanes took charge of the game in the third period.
Devin Taylor, who led all scorers with 25 points while adding eight boards, drained three treys to lead the charge.
Add to Taylor's total a pair of buckets by Chris Harvey and one more from Ralph Currie, and you have the makings of a 15-6 New Castle bulge that gave the Hurricanes a 41-34 lead.
"Those 3s by Taylor were big, but we need some output from some of the other kids," Sarandrea said.
However, as they had done several times during the game, the Titans battled back to make a game of it down the stretch, cutting their deficit to one point three times before the Hurricanes pulled away in the final minute.
With the Titan resurgence that nearly cost the Hurricanes the win, Sarandrea saw what is becoming a trend by his club and he doesn't necessarily like what he sees.
"If we get the lead early and the run doesn't come at the right time, we just don't handle the success of the run very well," Sarandrea said. "When you come in with a seven-point lead and immediately give up a 5-0 run, all the work you did is for nothing."
Although his team won the game, Sarandrea didn't feel that his club ever got into a consistent tempo.
"I think we started to get into one [consistent flow] early, but then they [Shaler] hit us with that little matchup defense and we self-destructed," Sarandrea said. "I think we handled it a little better in the second half, but not comfortably and with a purpose."
With the Titans still hanging around in the final minute, the Hurricanes, on the strength of a basket by Leon Ward and two from the line by Currie, set the final. Ward joined Taylor in double figures with 11 points.
Shaler was led by Stu Anglum with 18 points and Jon Hoburg with 16.