2023 WPIAL Class 6A boys basketball championship breakdown: New Castle vs. Central Catholic

Friday, March 3, 2023 | 10:44 PM

WPIAL Class 6A boys basketball championship

No. 1 New Castle vs. No. 3 Central Catholic

7 p.m. Saturday, Petersen Events Center

On the air: Video livestream: TribHSSN.TribLive.com; Radio: KDKA (1020 AM), KDKA (100.1 FM)

WPIAL titles: New Castle, 14 (1927, ‘36, ‘82, ‘93, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, 2012, ‘13, ‘14, ‘17, ‘18, ‘19, ‘21); Central Catholic 1 (2008)

New Castle (22-2)

Coach: Ralph Blundo

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

2, Da’Jaun Young, 6-2, sr., G/F

5, Isaiah Boice, 6-0, sr., G

11, Ralphie Blundo, 5-11, so., G

12, Jonathan Anderson, 5-9, sr., G

25, Nick Wallace, 5-10, sr., G

Notable: New Castle is searching to add to a WPIAL-record 14 championships. The Lawrence County power has won four titles since 2017. The Red Hurricanes lost to Laurel Highlands in the Class 5A championship game last season but then rebounded to finish second in the PIAA tournament. They moved up to Class 6A in the offseason via PIAA realignment. Coach Ralph Blundo has led the Red Hurricanes to seven titles in his 13-year tenure. Senior guards Isaiah Boice and Jonathan Anderson each average 17 ppg. Both had 16 points in a 58-42 win over Mt. Lebanon in the semifinals. Sophomore guard Ralphie Blundo added 12. New Castle finished 9-1 in Section 1 with the lone loss coming against Central Catholic, 56-45, on Jan. 10. The Red Hurricanes returned the favor on Feb. 3, 67-53.

Central Catholic (15-9)

Coach: Brian Urso

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

1, Randy Wilkerson, 6-1, sr., G

5, Payton Wehner, 6-0, jr., G

11, Dante DePante, 6-3, sr., G

20, Tommy Kristian, 6-1, sr., G

24, Cole Sullivan, 6-4, jr., F

Notable: Central Catholic is looking for its second WPIAL title after winning in 2008. The Vikings reached the WPIAL semifinals last year before falling to Fox Chapel. Senior guard Dante DePante averages 16 points and is one of the top guards in the WPIAL. Central Catholic can also rely on a tall frontcourt with junior forward Cole Sullivan (6-4) and senior forward Debaba Tshiebwe (6-7), the brother of Kentucky star forward Oscar Tshiebwe. The Vikings went 7-3 in Section 1, averaging 58.9 points and allowing 55.4. They earned a dominant 65-41 win over Upper St. Clair in the semifinals behind DePante’s 25 points.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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