La Salle halted in title game

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By Rick O’Brien

La Salle’s impressive and surprising run at its first state basketball championship finally ended.

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.

“I don’t know if it was the difference in the game, but we certainly got bullied at times,” La Salle coach Joe Dempsey said.

The Hurricanes, whose starting lineup featured four senior starters with football scholarships, went 31-0 en route to their first title. They reached the semifinals last season before losing to eventual champ Lower Merion.

“Hats off to them,” Dempsey said. “They ran the table, and I certainly understand why. It was a team of destiny.”

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