Championship rivalry renewed on busy Friday of hoops

Friday, January 3, 2020 | 12:07 AM

New Castle has won three straight WPIAL Class 4A boys basketball championships. In all three title games, the Red Hurricane knocked off rival Quaker Valley.

Now the ‘Canes and Quakers meet for the first of two regular season meetings on Friday.

In 2017 finals, New Castle cruised to a 73-58 win over Quaker Valley. The Canes had four players in double-digit scoring, led by Gino Smith’s 23 points.

In 2018, Quaker Valley swept New Castle in the regular season and entered the title game with a perfect 23-0 record. Yet the Red Hurricane raised gold again as Lorenzo Gardner scored 15 points and Marcus Hooker pulled down 15 rebounds in a 57-52 win.

Once again last year, the Quakers swept the Red Hurricane in the regular season with 19 and 3-point victories only to lose in the 4A finals. Drew Cox scored 20 points in a 60-54 New Castle win.

So far this season, Quaker Valley is 2-0 atop Section 2-4A and 6-1 for the season while New Castle is 1-1 in the section and 5-3 overall.

Back in the saddle

Friday is a busy night of section play around the WPIAL in boys basketball.

Some of the standout contests include Bethel Park hosting Peters Township in Section 2-6A with both teams looking for their seventh overall win.

First place is up for grabs in Section 3-5A when Hampton visits Shaler. Both the Talbots and Titans are tied for first place with 3-0 section records.

Defending WPIAL 3A champion Lincoln Park hosts Beaver Falls with the top spot in Section 1-3A up for grabs. The Leopards are 3-0 in the section while the visiting Tigers are a half-game back at 2-0.

Crowded at the top

Hampton will visit Gateway on Friday in a girls basketball battle between two of the top four teams in Section 2-5A.

The Talbots are on top with a section record of 2-0, a half-game in front of the 2-1 Gators.

Two other teams with their eye on first place are Mars (3-1) and Plum (2-1).

What’s surprising about Hampton being on top is that while they are undefeated in section play, out of the section, the Talbots are 1-6.

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