Tigers upended by top-ranked New Castle, 62-55

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by Jonathan Spina

After defeating previously top-ranked Central Catholic handily on their home floor 10 days ago, it was time for the Tigers to take on the new top-ranked team in WPIAL 6A in the New Castle Red Hurricane. North Allegheny put up a valiant effort but the Red Hurricane were able to pull away late to leave UPMC Court with a 62-55 win on Friday night.

After a defensive struggle early in the first quarter, NA started to get hot and jumped out to a 12-6 lead. Things settled from there but the Tigers had a 15-10 lead after a quarter of play. In the second quarter, New Castle picked up the intensity, especially on the defensive end, as they netted the first eight points of the quarter and outscored North Allegheny 16-11 in the period, tying the game at 26-26 by halftime. The Tigers were helped by a big first half performance by Joe Marquis who had all of his eight points in the first half.

The third quarter started similarly to the first quarter with both defenses taking center stage. NA opened the quarter on a 6-0 run that spanned about four minutes but the Red Hurricane responded with a 9-0 run of their own and held a 39-36 advantage going into the fourth. Things remained tight throughout the fourth quarter, but with the scored tied 41-41, New Castle ripped off a 14-0 run that gave them decisive separation from the Tigers. The Red Hurricane run was spurred by sophomore Ralphie Blundo, who led everyone in scoring with 17 points. NA fought back in the final minute and made it a single-digit game but ultimately fell, 62-55.

Ty Iwanonkiw paced the Tigers with 15 points. For his efforts, Iwanonkiw was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Joey Dopirak added 13 points and Anthony Sciote had eight points.

The loss drops North Allegheny to 7-9 overall and 2-4 in section play. The Tigers currently sit tied with Seneca Valley for the fourth and final playoff spot. New Castle improves to 15-2 overall and 5-1 in section play, keeping their one game lead on Butler intact. The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday when they head to Pine-Richland to take on the Rams. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Boys Basketball vs. New Castle, 1-27-23

New Castle1016132362
North Allegheny1511101955