Brad Everett covered tonight's New Castle-Hampton game. Here are some notes from him.
New Castle, the Post-Gazette's No. 1 Class AAAA team, used an exceptional fourth quarter to turn out the lights on No. 2 Hampton, handing the host Talbots a 58-42 defeat in a clash of Class AAAA Section 3 unbeatens.
Hampton played without standout senior Ryan Luther, a 6-8 guard-forward and Pitt recruit who missed his third game in a row after suffering an ankle injury in practice last Tuesday.
Clinging to a two-point lead after three quarters, New Castle turned up its defensive intensity a notch and blitzed Hampton with a 14-0 run to begin the fourth. All of a sudden, New Castle had a 53-37 lead.
Malik Hooker scored a game-high 17 points for New Castle. He and Anthony Richards combined to scored 12 of the 14 points in the big run. Jake McPhatter scored 14 points for New Castle and Richards added 10. New Castle extended its regular-season winning streak to 58 games.
Collin Luther, Ryan's twin brother, led Hampton with 14 points, including seven straight late in the third quarter to bring the Talbots within two.
"Obviously, it's a lot different without Ryan," said New Castle coach Ralph Blundo. "I credit Hampton because they adjusted well, did a little things different because of their personnel and played a tough, hard-nosed basketball game."