HERSHEY, Pa. -- La Salle’s impressive and surprising run at its first state basketball championship finally came to an end.
With considerable athleticism and toughness, much of it gained on the gridiron, New Castle completed a perfect season by beating the Explorers, 52-39, Saturday night in the PIAA Class AAAA boys’ final at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The Hurricanes, whose starting lineup featured four senior starters with football scholarships, went 31-0 en route to their first title. They outrebounded La Salle, 36-23.
Malik Hooker, a dynamic wing guard who will play defensive back at Ohio State, led the way with 13 points, four assists, and three steals
Point guard Najee Walls paced the Explorers (23-7) with 15 points. Fellow junior Shawn Witherspoon, a guard, was next in line with 10.
La Salle won five straight games, including a District 12 playoff qualifer vs. Central, after losing to Roman Catholic in the Catholic League semifinals.