HERSHEY, Pennsylvania – For the first time in school history, the New Castle boys’ basketball program captured a state championship by virtue of their 52-39 victory over La Salle College this evening. The Hurricanes finished the season with a perfect 31-0 mark.
At halftime, the Hurricanes shot just 31.8% (7-22) from the field and had forced only 3 turnovers as the score was nodded at 16. Early in the third quarter, the Explorers led 20-19 but New Castle outscored La Salle 10-4 to end the frame up by six (30-24). The run was highlighted by Malik Hooker’s driving layup as time expired.
In the fourth quarter, New Castle closed out the contest by scoring 22 of the games’ final 37 points.
The Red Hurricanes were led by Malik Hooker and Drew Allen, who both scored 13. Hooker also posted 13 rebounds. In the second half, the ‘Canes made 14 of 24 free throws (58.3%). New Castle became the first Quad A team from the Western side of the state to go through the season unbeaten since the PIAA added the classification. This was the fourth time that New Castle had reached the state finals and their first trip since 1998.
La Salle’s run saw the Explorers notch victories over the past two state champions (Lower Merion & Chester) in back-to-back games (Eastern Finals and State Quarterfinals). However, coach Joe Dempsey’s group fell to 23-7. Najee Walls led all scorers with 15.