By Max Terrell
Senior Cale Asperheim is a basketball player for the Newcastle Racers who has become a consistent scorer and one who can be relied on for the rebound.
There were many different changes for the team coming into the season, with a new head coach at the helm and a new system to learn. Many players sometimes have trouble picking up a new offense in any sport, but Asperheim feels that the new motion offense fits well for not only him, but also his teammates.
“I think the system is working really well for us,” Asperheim said. “We are running up and down the court, and we are scoring a lot more points than we have in the past. I think we are figuring everything out, and we have to keep doing what we have been doing.”
Asperheim has several talents that help the Racers win games, but he feels that his best skill on the court is mental, which translates to his shot selection.
He always looks to take shots that he thinks have a high percentage of going in and that help the team succeed and win, he said. He keeps that mindset whether it is shots from the post or anywhere else on the floor.
Asperheim feels that his teammates and head coach Kevin Johnson have helped build the team chemistry to its high point this season, which is important for a team.
“I think team chemistry is a huge part of how we play and what we do on the court,” he said. “It is always different getting a new head coach your senior year, but he is working hard and doing what is best for the team.”
So far the decision to pursue basketball after college has not been settled yet for him, debating on whether he will try to play college basketball or not, but he has aspirations to attend college and further his education. One day he wants to attain his degree and become a dentist.
Like most young players Asperheim realizes that he has many people to thank for his success in basketball, thanking his parents for always taking him to the games when he was a young player. He thanks his friends for supporting him and playing with him through the years, he said.
By Max Terrell
Aaliyah Endsley has spent almost her entire life playing the game of basketball, starting at the young age of five and using everything she has learned to become the player she is now.
Endsley has molded herself into one of the most consistent scorers for the Racers, as well as becoming an efficient ball handler and passer. She is always a scoring threat but plays with an unselfish nature always trying to get others involved in the game.
One of Endsley’s most important assets to the team is her natural athleticism. The young guard has the ability to beat defenders with her speed and score, but she can also use her strength to open up shots for her teammates.
“My athletic ability is very important,” Endsley said. “Once they stop my drive I can pass the ball to the three point shooters, and they can make the shot.”
Endsley always keeps her teammates in mind and feels the Racers passing game is very important to the team chemistry, she said. She wants everyone to be involved and touch the ball, because it can open up shots for other players on the team.
Endsley is a player who knows her strengths and weaknesses, and continues to improve on the court from game to game.
Her drive is her biggest strength on the court, but she also knows that she needs to work on three point shots and her dribbling skills with her left hand, she said.
Like most high school players, she has dreams of playing college basketball after graduating from high school.
“I want to go to college and play basketball, but I am not sure where yet,” she said. “I really want to go to OBU. That is one of my favorite colleges, because I went to some of the OBU camps, and after that I wanted to go there.”
She also has a high work ethic and feels that effort is important to her game, she said. Endsley also feels that her mother has played a big role in her basketball career thanking her mother for getting her involved with the sport at such a young age.
Newcastle held the annual Otho “Sweet Pea” Curtis Tournament, where the girls and boys teams both competed on their home court, posting a 1-2 record on the three-day tournament.
The Lady Racers hit the ground running to start the tournament, showcasing their offensive skills by beating Yukon by 19 points for a 73-54 win.
Making her debut for the Racers during the win over Yukon was senior Kylee Blehm, who recently transferred from Hennessey over Christmas break. Coming off the bench, Blehm scored 18 points, 12 of which came from the third quarter.
Round two of the tournament was a tougher test for the Lady Racers in a game against a top ranked 6A opponent in Westmoore. On offense, the Lady Racers found scoring options against the Westmoore defense, but the Lady Racers could not keep up with Westmoore’s scoring power losing 72-50.
Katie Mayo showed one of her best performances of the season, against skilled inside defenders, scoring 15 points. Mayo also shot a high percentage at the free throw line hitting five of her six shots.
Blehm had another high scoring night for the Lady Racers, scoring 18 points against Westmoore and Krey Johnson contributed nine points hitting three shots from beyond the arch.
There was plenty of offense coming from the Lady Racers, but only five players managed to score, with two of those players accounting for half of the total offense.
Near the end of the game Newcastle tried to come back and continued to fight, but the shots they would need just would not fall.
The Lady Racers played in the third place game on Saturday, falling to Piedmont 62-49. Piedmont would be another team offensively that the girls could not match on the defensive end.
While the tournament ended in two losses for the Lady Racers, they were able to score points against two of the toughest defenses in the state.
The Newcastle boys’ basketball team also started the tournament off with a win, but in a much closer contest, beating Piedmont narrowly in a 54-49 win.
In the second round of the tournament, the Racers would face the Ada Cougars losing 75-65. Ada started the game with a hot hand offensively, scoring seemingly at will.
Racer turnovers were a driving factor, allowing the Cougars to turn mistakes into points. The first half ended with the Cougars having a 42-27 lead.
Ada’s Cory Kilby accounted for half of the first half score with 21 points during the half alone, ending his night with 31 points.
While the big lead looked to end the Racers night early, the Racers came back in the second half and began to make more of their shots, but more importantly stopping the Ada offense.
At one point in the contest the Racers cut the lead down to four points, with the help of Caleb Nichols and Isaac Johnson. Nichols ended his night with 22 points, 10 of those points came in the second half and Johnson finished his night with 17 points.
Johnson scored 10 points in the final quarter hitting two threes near the end of the game to close the gap between the Racers and Cougars, but after missed shots near the final moments of the game the Racers took their first loss of the tournament.
The Racers third place game ended in a second overtime finish, with Chickasha just defeating the Racers 87-81.
The back and forth affair saw Newcastle take the early advantage on Chickasha, sporting a double digit lead, but as the game went on Chickasha came from behind with several and forced the game into two overtimes edging past the Racers.
The Otho “Sweet Pea” tournament ended with the two teams that faced Newcastle ending as the champions. For the girls bracket Westmoore took the championship, beating Chickasha by 12 points.
The boys bracket ended with Ada showing their high-powered offense and beating Yukon by 19 points ending in a 71-52 win.
By Darla Welchel
The Booster Club for the Newcastle Racer Soccer teams is hosting a fundraising dinner so they can keep those players fed.
The Chili Supper and Silent Auction will be held between 5-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the high school cafeteria. All proceeds go right back to taking care of the nearly 100 middle and high school players, said Diane Medrano.
The boosters buy food for the teams for all away games and provide snacks for other times, she said.
“Feeding the kids at away games gets expensive, and this goes to help all those kids,” Medrano said.
Another area of expense is the gifts for senior night. They also use the proceeds from the yearly fundraiser for any uniform needs that might arise.
Last year, the boosters were able to purchase long sleeve jerseys to be worn under uniforms on cold days, she said. And, they are looking at trying to get warm-ups this year.
“If the coach wants or needs something for the kids, we try to honor that,” Medrano said.
The Racer Soccer season starts with a pre-season tournament on February 21 in Oklahoma City; the first home game is March 1.
If you are interested in supporting Racer Soccer or want to know how to become a soccer booster, find them on Facebook at Newcastle Racers Soccer.
By Max Terrell
For The Newcastle Pacer
The Newcastle Racers were unable to overcome the Tuttle Tigers for homecoming, failing to stop the high-powered Tiger offense losing 72-44.
The Racers lead the game early, but Racer turnovers helped the Tigers begin to increase their score totals turning steals into points on several occasions taking advantage of miscues and stolen passes. Then Tigers took the lead hitting several shots from the three-point line and from under the basket.
The Racers began fighting to increase their lead in the second quarter, showing flashes of the high powered offense Racer fans are used to seeing but the scoring from the Tigers in the second half would be too much for the Racers to overcome.
The third quarter saw the Racers slipping away in the game with the Tigers shooting a high percentage of shots almost making every single shot the Tigers took. The Tigers would end the third quarter scoring 33 points, mainly scoring from the perimeter.
The Racers continued to play hard despite the deficit, attacking the shooting lanes and playing physical on homecoming night.
Caleb Nichols ended the night as the scoring leader for the Racers with 16 points, while Isaac Johnson was the second highest scorer with 12 points.
The low scoring total was out of character for the Racers, who at one point in the season almost scored 100 points on a team.
While the low offense was a key to the Tiger win at Newcastle, the bigger issue for the team was the defense. At the end of the first quarter the Racers held a 13-8 lead over the Tigers, but gave up 33 points in the third quarter and then 14 points in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers outscored the Racers 47-22 in the second half mounting a lead that would be too high for the Racers to Overcome.
Its no secret the Newcastle Racer Fastpitch team are the Oklahoma State Champions in their district, but Friday night, January 16, 2015 between games at basketball homecoming, the girls were officially presented their - very large - Championship Rings.
(Pictured back row from left) Amber Kammerlocher, Karmyn Pearn, Emily Kelly, Alyssa Housley, Kindle Nelms, Allyson LeClaire, Mikaela Workman, Abby Sanner and Aruora Scott.
(Front from left) Sarah Miner, Emily Fertic, Lainee Grider, Rhylee Vandiver, Emily Cerny and Koby Crossley. (Not pictured: Molly Crosswhite)
By Jennifer Wynne
For the Newcastle Pacer
Friday night the Bridge Creek varsity basketball teams met Kingfisher at home.
“The girls are working extremely hard. They are willing and ready everyday and that’s our goal,” said Ladycat’s head Coach Terry Nichols said when asked how he felt about the varsity girls performance to date Bridge Creek,
The Ladycats had a great first quarter. Junior Kaitlyn Swagerty looked strong with two consecutive three pointers helping the Ladycats take the lead at 17/13 over the Yellowjackets by the end of the first. The second quarter wasn’t as successful with the Yellowjackets taking the lead 35/21.
The Ladycats couldn’t regain the lead for the remainder of the game, but Senior Rachel Petersen had a successful fourth quarter hitting three consecutive three pointers in a row and ending as top scorer for the Bobcats with 14 points in the game. The final score was 47/69 Kingfisher takes the win.
The varsity boys didn’t have much success with Kingfisher either.
Kingfisher started out strong with a three pointer to which Bridge Creek responded with a three pointer from Junior Riley Cowan. Unfortunately the Bobcats ended the first quarter with deficit of 7/14.
The Bobcats were still down at the half but were able to put 16 points on the board during the second quarter. Senior Forest Fisher fouled out during the third quarter and the Bobcats continued to trail the Yellowjackets.
Junior Riley Cowan had a great fourth quarter though hitting three consecutive three pointers and ending the game as leading scorer for Bridge Creek with 23 points total in the games. The final score was 52/80 Kingfisher wins.
By Haley Pauley
For The Newcastle Pacer
Meet freshman wrestler Isac Higginbottom, or Higgy as some call him.
When asked if he liked the nickname, he replied “I’ve been called Higgy off and on since Kindergarten; it kind of grows on you.”
Higgy, along with his parents Danny and Lori Higginbottom, moved to Newcastle from Mustang at the end of last school year. Little brother Caleb is a sixth grader at Newcastle Middle School and older brother Zeth is a student at Oklahoma State University.
This is his second year wrestling, having been on the Mustang Junior High team last year, where he recalls wrestlingagainst Newcastle Junior High.
“I remember we had to face Newcastle at a dual tournament – I won,” he said smiling
Higginbottom seems to have a knack for that.
“You will be watching him wrestle, and it will look like he’s about to get beat. Then in a split second Higgy has turned the kid over, and just like that he gets the pin and wins,” said fellow teammate Eddie Pauley III.
When asked about Higgy, another team member Layson Grider’s take on Higgy is simple, “He is so strong.”
Head Wrestling Coach Zack Hale added, “[He’s a] great kid, amazing strength, funny, definitely provides comic relief to a team that has had some stressful times over the season. He’s very eager to learn, and he’s not afraid to wrestle or even to wrestle up. He could be on the junior high team, but he chooses to wrestle up on the High School team. In the long run this mat time is going to help him; it’s great for gaining more experience.”
With a high school record of 8 and 4, one of the better records on the team, it is believed Higginbottom made the right decision by wrestling up.
He is definitely game for the challenge of bigger, faster, more experienced opponents. Higginbottom also tests those challenges when he is not on the wrestling mat.
“I like to do stunts at home, kind of like a daredevil,” he said.
“Winning” is Higgy’s one word answer when asked what his favorite part of wrestling is, followed by “Losing”, for his least favorite part.
Higgens loves hanging out with his teammates and considers them his friends; it’s the biggest benefit to coming to Newcastle. In fact, his dad, Danny, feels almost the same way.
“We enjoy seeing him doing something that makes him happy, being part of a team,” Danny said, “Athletics teaches him that academics are important in school too, you run the chance of being ineligible if you don’t keep your grades up. Coach Hale is great with Isac, he’s a great mentor and motivator and that’s good for Isac.”
Higginbottom hopes to continue his wrestling career at college for the University of Oklahoma where he plans to major in law enforcement.
Youth tournament coach Eddie Pauley Jr. sums it all up with his take on Higginbottom, “His potential is sky high. We look forward to great things from this young man in the future.”
By Haley Pauley
For The Newcastle Pacer
It was yet again another busy weekend for the Racer High School wrestling team, this time traveling to Catoosa’s two-day high school tournament.
The great thing about these tournaments is mat time, and with a team consisting of mostly freshmen, mat time is valuable and educational. Win or lose, a player will come away with something new every time you are out there.
Friday brought a day of pool play. Every Racer had a minimum of three matches on Friday, some seeing as many as five matches. Saturday was time for bracket play where the Racers did well and held their ground.
Freshmen Mason Ford was the only wrestler to place in the medal rounds bringing home a fourth place. Railen Gordon, junior, finished the weekend at sixth place, while Freshmen Levi Maxwell and Chris Dalton both ended at seventh. All the wrestlers came home with a lot more experience than they left.
Saturday also saw youth wrestlers making their way to Bridge Creek, where they were hosting their own tournament. With the High School in Catoosa, the Junior High boys could have taken the weekend off, yet some chose to keep wrestling and get some of that valuable mat time.
Laycin Griner, a seventh grader, was just one of many. He entered the Bridge Creek Open tournament, beat his first opponent by points, pinned his second opponent to put him the first place finals and just came up short in that match. It was a very good weekend for Griner who finished second place in Div IV at 88 pounds.
By Haley Pauley
For The Newcastle Pacer
This time last year junior wrestler Tyler Brasseaux was resigned to the sidelines with a hard cast over his broken foot cheering on his fellow Racers. This year it was the team cheering on Brasseaux.
Having been released by his doctor on Monday to finally to be able to wrestle again, he was ready to go Thursday night when the Racers hosted the Anadarko Warriors for Homecoming. Brasseaux managed a pin fall for the win in just forty-five seconds.
The Racers were full of pin falls as Freshmen Levi Maxwell and Eddie Pauley III both beat their opponents by falls also. These 6-point wins helped the team come away winners with the final score of 54 to 15. The junior high was victorious as well with a score of 42 to 24 over the Warriors junior high team.
“Anadarko is a historically tough team,” said Head Coach Zach Hale. “They are very well coached by John Holten. [They] always compete well in tournaments.”
Both the Anadarko junior high and high school teams brought only six wrestlers – just half of a full roster. Team size is just a number, according to Coach Hale.
“They travel small, but what they bring is tough, they are a very good team with tough individuals. We were fortunate in our wins tonight,” he said.
On the schedule next for the Racers is District Duals, Thursday Jan 22, with teams from Tuttle, Tecumseh and Santa Fe South coming to Newcastle for a night full of great wrestling. Be sure to come out and show your support.