SHAWN ANDERSON of New Castle scored 16 points to lead the Red Hurricanes to a 68-53 win over Hampton in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game. (Courier Photos/William McBride)
The New Castle boys basketball team has been flying high the last two seasons and Saturday night became the first team in WPIAL history to record back to back undefeated season’s in league play.
New Castle beat Hampton (21-5) in last year’s WPIAL Class AAA title game. The two moved up in class this year and now met in the AAAA final at the Palumbo Center and the Red Hurricanes easily won, 68-53.
Shawn Anderson scored 16 points for No. 1 seed New Castle, Antonio Rudolph had 15 and Anthony Richards added 12.
Anderson was good in the regular season, but the senior forward is averaging nearly 25 points in four postseason games while making a push for WPIAL player of year honors. Anderson has committed to the Naval Academy.
Ryan Luther had 17 points for Hampton, which was making its fourth WPIAL title game in the past five seasons. Luther is considered one of the WPIAL’s best players and has scholarship offers from Duquesne and Dayton. He is 6 feet 7 and can play inside or outside.
The win pushed undefeated New Castle record to 26-0, and the Red Hurricane will now have to face Gateway in the first round of the PIAA state tournament.
New Castle recently ended Gateway’s three-year run appearances in WPIAL title game.
“If you give New Castle a big man to go with the players they have, they can compete with anyone in the country,” Gateway head coach Mitch Adams said.
“They have quickness; they can shoot well and defend. They do everything you need to win games. Still, I relish the opportunity to play them again.”
Beaver Falls (23-3) blew out Burrell (19-7), 61-33, to win the Class AA championship Saturday night at Palumbo Center. The top-seeded Tigers raced to a commanding lead and kept extending it as they routed the Bucs. The pressure and intensity continued, despite the large advantage.
With the win, Beaver Falls got its second consecutive title, the ninth in school history and coach Doug Biega got his 300th career win.
Senior guard Drew Cook led the Tigers with 20 points, Elijah Cottrill had 14 and Danny Stratton added 13.
Burrell senior Cole Bush knows people are going to compare him to former Bucs star Joey Meyers. Meyers was 1,000-point scorer before going to play at Duquesne University and was an eighth-round draft pick of the New Jersey Nets in the 1983 draft.
In the 1979 title game against Beaver Falls, Meyers had 22 points, but Burrell was defeated, 55-54, by a great Beaver Falls team led by Dwight Collins, Damon Bryant, Ron Rowan and Forest Grant.
“Joey Meyers is a legend at our school and a lot people are comparing our team to their team and me to him. We are a football, wrestling and baseball school,” said Bush, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, who is averaging a “double double”. “I didn’t play basketball last year but I’m playing this year to stay in shape for football. Next year I’ll be playing running back or tight end for St. Francis.”