Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Castle Was Hooked on 1 Family Eight-Year Run of Hooker Boys Closes Unmatched

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Castle Was Hooked on 1 Family Eight-Year Run of Hooker Boys Closes Unmatched

Article excerpt

New Castle's Marcus Hooker played his final high school basketball game Saturday night in the Roundball Classic all-star event at Geneva College in Beaver Falls. Now will someone please grab a tissue for New Castle coach Ralph Blundo.

This is the sad reality for New Castle basketball: Marcus is the last of the Hooker brothers.

For all of his eight seasons as New Castle's coach, Blundo has had a Hooker brother on his team. First it was Malik, who now plays defensive back for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. Then came Marquel and finally Marcus. Blundo even coached Marcus in the Roundball.

The Hookers' wonderful talent was never lost on Blundo and he felt extremely fortunate to coach all three. Then last week, a friend gave Blundo a sheet of paper that listed the Hookers' career statistics. Although Blundo knew of the Hookers' value, it was like this piece of paper smacked Blundo in the face. It was something tangible that Blundo could use to re-enforce a premise he has held for a while.

"There have been some really good siblings [in the WPIAL], but I'd challenge anyone to come up with three brothers - ever - who did as much both individually and winning in basketball," Blundo said.

For certain, the Hookers left an indelible mark, not only on New Castle, but the entire WPIAL. Consider their statistics:

* 4,183 points (1,626 by Malik, 1,104 by Marquel and 1,543 by Marcus).

* 2,097 rebounds (807 by Malik, 340 by Marquel and 950 by Marcus).

* 848 assists (316 by Malik, 206 by Marquel and 326 by Marcus).

* 834 steals (343 by Malik, 222 by Marquel and 269 by Marcus).

* A shooting percentage of .545 (.560 by Malik, .510 by Marquel and .550 by Marcus).

And then there is the winning. Malik was a part of four section titles, Marquel two and Marcus three. Malik won three WPIAL titles and one PIAA championship. Marquel was a part of one WPIAL and one PIAA championship. Marcus won two WPIAL titles.

Darwin Huey, who wrote a book about New Castle's undefeated season of 2013-14, is the one who supplied Blundo with the statistics.

"I was amazed," Blundo said. "It makes you say to yourself, 'Heck, no wonder we've been so successful with three brothers like this. …

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