Poor shooting haunts New Castle in loss to Rams
The Hurricanes shot 16-of-54 in free throws and were outrebounded 42-20.
NEW CASTLE -- When Pine-Richland and New Castle met for the first time a month ago, the Rams had things pretty much their own way as they defeated the Hurricanes by 14 points.
Although the venue was different Thursday night, the result was much the same, as the Rams made it two in a row over the Hurricanes, 47-38, at the NeCaHi Field House in a battle of two premier teams in WPIAL Class AAAA basketball.
"I don't have an answer," said New Castle coach Luann Grybowski.
"I don't know why we played the way we did. Our shooting was horrendous and they had 22 more rebounds than we had. I just can't pick out one thing that we did well tonight. Why you can't get up for a game like this is beyond me and I am not going to make any excuses. We just didn't play well at all."
Second quarter blues
Pine-Richland (14-3, 8-2) converted 15-of-36 attempts. New Castle (14-4, 7-3) made good on 16-of-54. The Rams held a decisive edge in rebounds, 42-20.
"They just killed us on the boards, especially in the first half," said Grybowski.
"They just annihilated us on the boards."
Although there was not much scoring in the opening eight minutes, the two teams were tied three times, the last at 7-all at the end of the quarter.
New Castle had the better of the first two minutes of the second period as the Hurricanes took a 12-9 lead.
However, from that point on, the Rams put together a 15-2 run to open up a 10-point lead (24-14) at halftime.
As if the drought wasn't bad enough for the Hurricanes, the half ended when Annie Zopf , made a desparation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Hitting that 3 right before the half just killed us," said Grybowski.
"Instead of being down seven, we were down 10 and that makes it a different game to begin the second half."
In the third period, Pine-Richland threatened to blow the game wide open as it led by as many as 13 points before taking a 35-26 advantage to the final period.
Too little, too late
During the final eight minutes, New Castle's Jalessa Sams went to work inside to score eight of her team-high 14 points, but it wasn't enough. Ryenn Micaletti also hit double figures for the Hurricanes with 10 points.
Behind Sams' effort, New Castle cut its deficit to five points five times in the final period, but never got closer.
"We cut it to five and missed a 3-pointer that should have never been taken," said Grybowski. "On the next possession, we traveled, and the next time we missed another 3-pointer from the corner. So instead of taking a good shot and possibly tying the game, we didn't do it.
"We had better re-group and do it right now. You have to give them [Pine-Richland] credit because they came into our house and played well tonight. I don't think they are a better team than we are, but tonight they certainly played much better than we did."
Leading the Rams were Kylie Miller and Zopf with 14 points apiece.