Red Hurricanes Stave Off Abington For Trip To PIAA Finals

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New Castle staved off a furious fourth quarter rally by Abington and advanced to the PIAA title game for the first time since 1998 with a 58-54 win on Tuesday night before a sea of fans wearing black and red at Chambersburg High School.  The win pits the undefeated Red Hurricanes against the LaSalle College Explorers in the PIAA championship on Saturday at 8:00 pm at the Giant Center in Hershey. LaSalle topped defending state champion Chester on Tuesday night, 61-55.

Often producing highlight reel dunks and baskets, it was a pass and a drawn charge from senior Malik Hooker that meant the most in this win.  New Castle led 51-40 with 3:08 to play, but Abington rallied to take a 54-53 lead with 40 seconds remaining on an Anthony Lee layup.  After the Lee bucket, Hooker immediately tossed a long outlet pass to Stew Allen for a breakaway layup and a 55-54 New Castle lead. Then with 10 seconds left, Abington’s Matthew Penecale drove the lane for a near bucket and the lead, but Hooker drew a charge to keep New Castle in front on the scoreboard and give the Red Hurricanes possession of the basketball.  From there, New Castle hung on for a four point victory and a trip to “Chocolate Town.”

Along with his clutch plays down the stretch, Hooker scored 15 points for the Red Hurricanes. Senior guard Anthony Richards led with 16, including four three-pointers, and Drew Allen scored 11.

New Castle improves to 30-0 on the season, while Abington ends the year with a 25-6 mark.