New Castle Downs Pittsburgh Central Catholic 68-53 To Claim Section 1-6A Title
PITTSBURGH — In Isaiah Boice’s return to New Castle’s starting line-up, another familiar face – senior Da’Jaun Young – stole the show in the 68-53 title-clinching victory over the Central Catholic Vikings on Tuesday night.
In a back-and-forth first quarter, the Hurricanes’ guards – Boice and Jonathon Anderson – scored 10 of the Hurricanes’ 14 points. The Vikings’ forwards, Debaba Tshiebwe and Cole Sullivan combined for 10 points of their own but ultimately trailed 14-12 after one quarter.
The second quarter is when the game suddenly turned into a “battle of the big man.” Hurricanes’ center, 6-foot-2 Da’Jaun Young helped build a lead for New Castle, scoring 10 points in the quarter. The Vikings only managed 10 second-quarter points as a team.
At the half, the Hurricanes led 30-22. Both Young and Tshiebwe led their teams in scoring in the first half with 12 points each.
The intensity of the crowd began to flow into the game as the players began to chirp one another and the pace of play increased. The students began to chant “You can’t do that,” when a foul was called against a Hurricane player and “He is too small,” for every Tshiebwe bucket.
Young and Tshiebwe’s battle waged on as they continued to match each other’s scoring production, scoring 6 points each in the third quarter.
Trailing by 8 points, Central Catholic opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run, five of which came from the junior Sullivan. This made it a one-possession game for the first time since the second quarter.
Following the 6-0 run by the Vikings, Anderson answered with two quick buckets of his own.
Central Catholic tried to stay within striking distance but the strong fourth quarter by Anderson and the stellar offensive performance by Young proved to be too much for the Vikings to handle.
“Da’Jaun has been playing great basketball all year. Just keeps getting better and better as the year has gone on,” said coach Blundo. “He played great tonight. He finished around the rim. If you look at that run in the first half, it was Da’Jaun that got us going with an and-one and another finish.”
Central Catholic’s Sullivan scored 15 points and recorded eight rebounds in the losing effort. The 6-foot-7 Debaba Tshiebwe, who is the younger brother of Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe, finished with a team-high 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Vikings.
“He’s a good player. I battled until the end. I know what I can do if I have the energy. I know I am a little smaller, and he is a little bigger but that [did not] stop me,” said Young to PSN about his counterpart Tshiebwe.
Young finished with a game-high 22 points for the Hurricanes. Boice and Anderson had impressive nights, scoring 18 points each. Anderson scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.
With the win, New Castle clinched the Section 1-6A title in its first year in the classification. An impressive feat, but one that is expected by a Ralph Blundo-led squad. This is Blundo’s tenth section title as a head coach.
“We can always keep that rhythm going. Always, season after season. I love Coach [Blundo] and we are here for him and love to win for him,” said Young.
The Hurricanes finish regular-season play next week and then will be a top-seed in the WPIAL playoffs that begin on Feb. 13, 2023.
“Senior year, last moments, last go around, I feel like we can go all the way,” said Young.
Central will get them in the playoffs on a neutral ct