New Castle Still Unbeatable

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by Patrick McKay

There was a packed house, sold out crowd on hand at North Allegheny this evening for the WPIAL semifinal match-up between the top seeded Red Hurricanes of New Castle and the 13th seeded Cavaliers of Kiski.  In fact many were turned away as there was standing room only and one of the largest gymnasiums in the District overflowed.  Cheerleaders were seated on the opposite side line of the teams in order to make room for as many as possible.  That however turned out to be the story of the night as New Castle simply trounced the Cavaliers and had a mercy rule running clock prior to the end of the third quarter.  That is not something that will happen often in the WPIAL semifinals and it makes one doubt if anyone can beat this dynamic Hurricane squad during this playoff run.

When the first period ended New Castle held a 17-9 lead and even then it was apparent that the Cavaliers were no match for these Red Hurricanes.  Surprisingly it was not all inside points that were scored as 9 of New Castle’s 17 points came off of 3 point field goals two from Anthony Richards and one from Drew Allen.  As usual the Red Hurricanes were a threat from anywhere. By halftime Kiski’s Billy Johnson had 3 fouls putting one of their tallest players and toughest defenders on the sideline for more minutes than played.  This certainly opened up the paint more for New Castle as Malik Hooker would score 10 of his game high 20 points in the second period and take the Red Hurricanes into the locker room with a 36-14 lead.  The storm only got worse for Kiski in the third quarter as New Castle posted 27 points in that stanza alone and before anyone knew it this game was on a running clock.  When the third quarter ended the Red Hurricanes held a 63-17 lead but not before Malik Hooker would put down a thunderous tomahawk style dunk that even brought the Kiski fans to their feet in awe.  From this point on the New Castle subs would handle the remaining eight running clock minutes.  Joining Malik Hooker in double figures on the evening were teammates Jake McPhatter with 12, Drew Allen and Stew Allen chipped in 10 a piece.  In all 9 different Hurricanes made the score sheet.  The Cavaliers had one player in double digits as Mike Simmons posted 10.

Kiski falls to 17-6 overall and will await the announcement of their PIAA playoff destination and opponent next week.  The New Castle Red Hurricanes are now a perfect 25-0 on the season and will face Hampton in the WPIAL finals Saturday at the A.J. Palumbo Center.  This is a rematch of last year’s AAAA final and the year before however in 2012 these teams were in AAA.

(Photo courtesy of Lee Mohn)