Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Perfect Size Fits All for Red Hurricanes New Castle 57, Hampton 44

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Perfect Size Fits All for Red Hurricanes New Castle 57, Hampton 44

Article excerpt

Only minutes after the WPIAL Class AAA championship game Friday night, the New Castle players scrambled to put on T-shirts that read "New Castle" on the front and "26-0" on the back.

They fit perfectly.

New Castle was held to its lowest point total of the season by far, but there was no keeping New Castle from the record books. New Castle defeated Hampton, 57-44, to win the WPIAL Class AAA championship at Duquesne University's A.J. Palumbo Center.

New Castle became only the 11th team in the past 50 years to win a WPIAL title with a perfect record. The previous team to do it was Blackhawk in 2000. Blackhawk's coach, John Miller, watched the game from the first row of seats.

"This has nothing to do with me. I'm just happy for these kids because this is something they can keep with them the rest of their lives," said Ralph Blundo, New Castle's second-year coach. "They're a special, special group of kids."

New Castle's previous lowest offensive output was 68 points, but Hampton's size advantage and zone defenses dictated a slower pace. New Castle (26-0), though, proved it can win a methodical game, too. The Red Hurricanes used their quickness, ballhandling and excellent passing ability to get inside Hampton's zones for inside baskets all game. New Castle had only six turnovers.

"New Castle is a very good basketball team," Hampton coach Joe Lafko said. "They have exceptional quickness, they have good perimeter shooting, they're able to attack it inside. They had an answer for everything that we did."

Shawn Anderson, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, led New Castle with 24 points and eight rebounds. He made 9 of 14 shots and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Senior forward Corey Eggleston added 13 points. Ryan Luther, a sophomore guard-forward, led Hampton with 14 points and senior center Mark Pilarski had 12.

Hampton (22-4) outrebounded New Castle, 35-24, but New Castle shot 50 percent (22 of 44) from the field. …

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