Holding Court: New Castle gets 'payback' chance

Hurricanes will play


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The New Castle boys haven't lost a regular-season game since 2011, but the Red Hurricanes will put their 58-game streak on the line Saturday night against Kobe Bryant's alma mater.

New Castle will play Lower Merion in an event named after the famous NBA player. The Kobe Bryant Classic will include three games at Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia. Bryant led Lower Merion to the 1996 PIAA Class AAAA championship.

The last time New Castle lost a game outside of the regular season was to, coincidentally, Lower Merion. The Aces beat New Castle, 67-63, in last year's PIAA semifinals.

"They called us last spring and asked us to play in this event," New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. "We had a full schedule at the time, but I said we would work something out and play in the event, but only if we can play Lower Merion again.

"They called back and said we could play Lower Merion, so we decided to do it."

Lower Merion is 6-5, but has played a tough non-league schedule.

"Looking back to last year, we played all the top teams we possibly could in this [Western Pennsylvania] area," Blundo said. "But facing an eastern team with length and size would've maybe served us well going into that Lower Merion game last year and got us ready for it.

"We don't know what that regular-season streak even is, and I'm not kidding you. I know it's in the 50s somewhere. But it's nothing we talk about and never hear the kids talk about. Playing Lower Merion can only help you."

Coaches vs. Cancer events

Allen Deep runs the Roundball Classic all-star games in April, but he also is running two events over the next two weekends that bring together some of the top teams and players in the WPIAL.

The Coaches vs. Cancer Backyard Brawlz will be this Saturday at Seton Hill University in Greensburg. The event includes three boys and two girls games.

The Coaches vs. Cancer Clash of the Titans is next Saturday at Geneva College in Beaver Falls. It includes five boys games and one girls game.

Among the top matchups at Geneva are Beaver Falls vs. New Castle, Hampton vs. Central Valley and Lincoln Park vs. Kiski School. Beaver Falls and New Castle are both two-time defending WPIAL champions. Lincoln Park is the No. 1-ranked Class A team in the state and will play Kiski School, a prep school in Saltsburg that has 7-footer Satchel Pierce, who already has signed with Marquette.

Tickets are available at the gate the day of the events.

Quoting 'em

Vincentian boys coach George Yokitis on his team's 95-92 victory against Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic last Saturday: "It was exciting. A lot of people were telling me it was the best five dollars they ever spent."

Record stuff

Three days after beating North Catholic, Vincentian defeated Sewickley Academy, 115-88. It got some people thinking about what the WPIAL record was for most points in a game. Well, Vincentian wasn't even close.

The WPIAL record for most points in a game is 167 when Albert Gallatin beat West Greene, 167-30, in 1971. And if you think running up the score has come to light in only the past few decades, consider this game. Albert Gallatin led, 75-17, at the half and still scored 46 points in each of the third and fourth quarters. And this was against a winless West Greene team.

Stan Boskovich scored 54 points in the game and Ken Valencik 37.

Next in line on the all-time scoring list is Wampum, which scored more than 130 points three times in the 1950s under legendary coach L. Butler Hennon. Wampum beat Neshannock, 154-54, in 1959; Darlington, 140-41, in 1953; East Brook, 139-41, in 1955.

Wampum eventually closed and is now part of the Ellwood City and Mohawk school districts.

Check this out

* The Vincentian boys are now averaging 94.8 points a game. As of Wednesday, that was more than four NBA teams.

* The Duquesne University women's team offered Penn Hills freshman Desiree Oliver a scholarship in the spring of her eighth-grade year. St. Francis also has offered. Oliver is averaging 12 points a game for Penn Hills.


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