Hawks prepare for Hurricanes
Bethel Park (18-5) had little time to savor its win against Fox Chapel as the Hawks now face the most dominant club in the WPIAL Quad-A boys’ basketball tournament. The Hawks play New Castle Feb. 22 in the quarterfinals. (Site and time to be determined.)
The Hurricanes are not only seeded No. 1 in the tournament. They have not lost to a WPIAL club in three seasons. They are the defending district champion and 2013 PIAA runner-up.
This season, New Castle won the Section 3 title with a 14-0 record. The Hurricanes are 22-0 overall.
“(New Castle) is a great challenge for us,” explained BP floor boss Ben O’Connor, “but we look forward to it. We need to play very well to beat them.”
With a full week of practice, O’Connor’s coaching staff will have the Hawks prepared, especially for the ‘Canes full-court pressure.
“The obvious thing that we need to do is take care of the ball and rebound,” O’Connor explained. “When they force turnovers and get offensive rebounds, they are at their best.”
Guards such as Joey Mascaro and Anthony Bomar, not to mention Sam Volpatti, will be responsible for bringing the ball up the court. Guys like Jake Dixon, Jake Murphy, Dan Breit, Levi Metheny, Quentin Keibler and Cass Wisniewski, not to mention the sharpshooting Josh Krafczynski, must attack the boards even though New Castle boasts but three players taller than 6-2.
Malik Hooker makes the ‘Canes run. The Ohio State football recruit ranks ninth in the WPIAL in scoring. The 6-1, 185-pound swing man averages 23.3 points per game.
Anthony Richards also generates a great deal of offense for the ‘Canes as he, like Hooker, is a 1,000-point scorer in his career.
Under Ralph Blundo, the ‘Canes have won 19 postseason games.
“Coach Blundo gets the most out of his kids and his teams,” said O’Connor. “They play extremely hard and the right way.”