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 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.
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 Max Terrell
For The Newcastle Pacer
The Lady Racers left on homecoming night with a convincing win, defeating the Tuttle Lady Tigers 51-34, in a game in which the Lady Racers dominated defensively.
The first quarter started out slow for the Lady Racers with the scoring coming late in the first quarter, but forced the Lady Tigers into bad shots that allowed the girls’ defense to help Newcastle tie the game at the end of the first quarter.
The defense picked up the intensity in the second and third quarters holding the Lady Tigers to single digit scores. In the second quarter Newcastle held Tuttle to 4 points, and in the third Tuttle only managed 7 points.
This gave the Lady Racers a lead they would build upon as the offense continued to flow outscoring Tuttle 30-19 in the second half of the game.
The third quarter was the most efficient, offensively, for the Lady Racers, with the offense scoring 19 points in one quarter. The girls made sure to have everyone involved in the quarter, with six different players scoring multiple baskets.
Katie Mayo made the biggest contribution on the scoring end, dominating the post and ending the night with 21 points. Some of the most key shots taken by Mayo during the game were critical put back shots from rebounds.
Mayo also played solid defense, blocking shots and forcing the Lady Tigers into tough shots.
Aaliyah Endsley also had an impressive scoring night with 11 points and several assists, creating shot opportunities for her teammates, which lead to the high scoring offense.
While the Lady Racers managed to walk out of their home gym with a double digit win, there were several turnovers that threatened to make the game closer than it was in the first half.
There were several passes that were intercepted or players would lose control of the ball, as it would go out of bounds. In the highest scoring quarter for the Racers, there were very few turnovers, which lead to not only the high scoring offense, but also translated to an impressive defensive performance.
The win continues the stretch of victories for the Lady Racers as they look to improve as the season advances.
Solid wins for the Lady Racers
In a game that was competitive early on in
the contest, the Newcastle Racers handily
defeated the Bridge Creek Bobcats 57-31.
The game started out fast paced for the
Racers, attaining a quick lead but the momentum
began shifting in the fi rst quarter
with the Lady Racers missing several perimeter
The Racers left halftime with a single point
lead on the Lady Bobcats, after being up by
as much as eight points in the match up of
fast paced offenses.
“We were just getting shots that we always
get at practice,” said head coach Ben Sanders.
“We have to get over this kind of shooting.
We have girls that are really good shooters,
but we have to transfer that from practice
to in the game.”
The second half proved to be much more
fruitful for the scoring efforts of the Lady
Racers. Shots fi nally began to fall for the
girls with them scoring almost double the
points they did in the fi rst half of play.
Kindle Nelms finished the night as the
leading scorer for the Lady Racers totaling
14 points. Caitlyne Weatherly also scored in
double fi gures fi nishing the night with 11
points on the evening.
One of the biggest differences between
the first and second half of the game was
Newcastle’s ability to rebound the ball more
In the first half the Lady Racers gave up
several defensive rebound attempts with the
Lady Bobcats having second and even third
attempts to score off of the rebounds.
The Lady Racers began boxing out players,
which made the difference for the team
defensively by the end of the night. Denying
the Lady Bobcats the ball allowed for only
nine points for Bridge Creek in the second
half, and Newcastle pulled 16 points ahead of
the Lady Bobcats.
The Lady Racers also competed in the
East Central Classic where the Lady Racers
won their first game against Guthrie, with an
offensive display taking the win 68-47.
The second match of the tournament was
a much more defensive contest as Newcastle
fell to Shawnee in a 46-44 loss.
Racers cage the Bobcats
The Newcastle Racer boy’s
basketball team headed into a
game with Bridge Creek with
offense in mind, almost scoring
100 points defeating the
The Racers started out like
they have all season – keeping
control of the ball and playing
The first few minutes of the
fi rst quarter were some of the
best defensive performances
the Racers have had this year.
Glenn Cerny continued his
defensive play style with an
early block and physical defense
from start to finish.
The dominant start slowed
for the Racers after committing
several turnovers in the
first half and the boys struggling
to make shots against
the Bobcat defense.
The Bobcats began to cut
into the Racers lead, but that
was short lived after halftime.
After adjustments made by
head coach Kevin Johnson
and more relaxed and focused
play by the Racers, Newcastle
began to create a big lead.
The defense began to match
the physicality with all the
Racer players blocking shots
and doing their part in the
zone defense to keep the Bobcats
off of the scoreboard.
Ben Persall was a key factor
at both ends of the fl oor
rebounding the ball well in
the second half. Persall would
score off of second chances
and fought for every defensive
rebound not allowing the Bobcats
to have second chance
Caleb Nichols also contributed
heavily to the scoring
efforts of the Racers, with a
career high in points scoring
over a third of the points for
the team with 33 points.
With everything coming
together for the Racers, the
team never let up on the offensive
side of the ball, and with
an effort from all the players,
the Racers had their best scoring
night of the season.
After the game in Bridge
Creek, the Racers headed to
Ada for the East Central Oklahoma
The first match up for the
Racers came in the form of a
young but talented Stillwater
team. The game was high
scoring, which usually favors
Newcastle, but Stillwater
pulled out a nine point victory
The second round would
see the Racers defeat Ponca
City in a close game winning
62-58. The fi nal game of the
tournament for the Racers
would come against Shawnee
in yet another close match up.
The Racers kept the game
close, but were narrowly defeated
By Max Terrell
For the Newcastle Pacer
Every team starts the season with a goal and a playing style in mind, to propel them to the state tournament. The Racers are no different, using motion to generate offense and working to establish their post presence.
At the heart of the defense and offense in the post would be center Katie Mayo, who on several occasions has lead the team in scoring.
Much, if not all, of the scoring that Mayo has been generating for Newcastle has come at the post. Being a taller player always helps, but Mayo has had to work on developing her post skills from a young age.
“When I was younger, I played guard, but then I got taller and coach Sanders has really helped me with my post moves,” Mayo said. “With coach Sanders, I have gotten a lot better with my moves.”
Mayo’s scoring in the paint has been a driving factor towards the success of the Lady Racers, but there are other stats and talents that are just as important.
Throughout her career, Mayo has understood the importance of defense, especially on this particular Lady Racers’ team.
“Defense is everything,” she said “On this team we are always preaching defense, and our coach is always telling us, ‘if you need a rest then rest on offense.’ Defense is definitely the biggest part of our game.”
Another important part of what has made Mayo successful is her rebounding skills. Last year Mayo felt that she could have performed better when looking to gain rebounds, and that has motivated her to work harder this year, she said.
She has pushed herself to be more active on the backboard and fight for rebounds, she said. So far that has worked for Mayo, grabbing several rebounds on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court in every game to this point.
Mayo’s family has been a big inspiration for her to work hard on the court and in the classroom. She has a younger brother and an older sister who recently graduated. Mayo’s sister was also a basketball player; someone Mayo looked up to, she said.
Her parents have also pushed her to be a better player and person. If it were not for them, she would not be where she is today, she said.
While Mayo has improved through hard work and dedication, she gives her teammates much of the credit for her improvements and skills on the court.
“Without my team, we would not be where we are today,” Mayo said. “I’ve played a lot better than I have in the past, and with my team around me, they are pushing me to be better. We are a team, and not one of us is better than the other. Without [each] person on this team, we would not be the same.”
By Max Terrell
For The Newcastle Pacer
This year, the Racers basketball team has found success early on in the season amassing a 5-2 record.
All of the wins have come from a team effort, but one Racer stands out on offense.
Caleb Nichols has been the teams leading scorer almost every game this season, helping to lead the high-speed motion offense for Newcastle.
Nichols has confidence in himself, but he says that the increase in scoring for him has come from a lot of hard work, on and off the court.
“Being an offensive threat comes with a lot of practice,” said Nichols. “You have to shoot the ball before and after practice, shoot free throws, and you have to work on your ball handling skills. Once you do that, you begin becoming confident, and my confidence has become really high.”
One of the biggest assets to Nichols’ game is his athletic ability. Some players are born with great athletic ability and others have to work to develop it.
Nichols says that in the beginning he was not the most athletic player on the court, but between his freshman and senior year, he has worked hard to improve himself physically.
While Nichols and the entire Racer team seemed to have no trouble scoring points, the new system the team has had to run has come with its own challenges for the players.
“I think we are fitting in with the system better now,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, our turnovers were really high. It would be hard for us to turn the ball over more than we did, but we have definitely cut down on the turnovers. I think it needs to go down a little bit more, but that will come with experience.”
Nichols has not only excelled on the court, but also academically, studying to maintain a high GPA. He plans to attend college after high school and hopes to play Division II or NAIA basketball.
While both the court and the classroom have been good to him over his career, Nichols speaks the most highly of his family.
“I have a sister whose 28 and has Down Syndrome,” he said. “She is my biggest fan and she can always put a smile on my face. I also have a brother who just came back from basic training. He surprised me during the Kingfisher game. It was amazing.”
He also speaks highly of his mother, saying that she has been an integral part of his playing career. She always drove him to practice and made sure he had basketball shoes and she is the reason that he is where he is at today, he said.
By Max Terrell
For The Newcastle Pacer
The Newcastle Racers boys’ basketball team continued their winning ways with back-to-back wins.
They first won against their rivals the Blanchard Lions, winning by double digits in a 56-45 win, and followed that game up by defeating the Kingfisher Yellowjackets 60-56.
The first win against Blanchard came from one of the lowest scoring outings for the Racers basketball team during the young season, but the win also marks one of the best defensive performances the Racers have had so far.
While players like Gavin Garner and Ben Persall have been aiding the team with a high number of defensive rebounds and blocks throughout the season, the Racers managed to play at an even higher level defensively allowing less than 50 points on the floor against the Lions.
The Racers second game of the week would be a much closer contest, with the Racers coming out on top by four points against the Yellow Jackets. While the defense gave up 56 points the offense performed like they have been all season scoring 60 on Kingfisher.
The consecutive victories put the Racers at 5-2 on the season coming into the Christmas break. The Racers will spend their time off preparing for a road trip for another conference match up against the 1-6 Bobcats at 7:30 p.m. on January 6 at Bridge Creek.
The Newcastle Girls basketball team split their last two games losing to the Blanchard Lions 43-33 and defeating the Kingfisher Yellow Jackets 59-48.
In the low scoring game against the Lady Lions, the Lady Racers fell behind the game early in the first quarter letting the Lady Lions acquire a six point lead.
The rest of the game, the team kept the game close, but were never able to cut into the lead being outscored one or two points in every quarter.
The second game against Kingfisher showed more favorable results as Newcastle secured the double digit win against the Lady Yellow Jackets.
After scoring their lowest total so far of the season against Blanchard, Newcastle came back and showed their offensive talents almost scoring 60 points on Kingfisher. This has been what Racers fans are used to seeing with Lady Racers Aaliyah Endsley and Katie Mayo finding a way to continue to score on a nightly basis.
The win puts the Lady Racers at 5-1 so far on the season coming into the Christmas break. The Lady Racers will have a short break until their next game against the 2-4 Bridge Creek Bobcats at 6:30 p.m. on January 6.
By Max Terrell
For the Newcastle Pacer
The Newcastle Racers basketball team began the season with a three game stretch against some of the toughest opponents in the state, including the fourth ranked team in 6-A, Booker T. Washington.
Since the early challenge met head on by the Racers, the team has won their last two games outscoring opponents by 20 points in each game defeating the Bethany Bronchos 71-50 and the Little Axe Indians 83-61.
Both games saw similar starts for the Racers with both games going back and forth in the first half, with Newcastle never establishing a dominant lead on either of their opponents until the third quarter.
Newcastle found themselves down early in both contests with turnovers playing a key role during the games. Against Bethany, the Racers ended the game with 13 turnovers with several of those giveaways coming in the first quarter of play.
Then, during their contest with Little Axe, the Racers finished the game with 15 turnovers. As both contests went on, the ball security improved for the Racer’s, as well as their scoring, which gave them a more fundamentally sound second halfs.
Caleb Nichols led the team in scoring during both games totaling 23 points during the game against Bethany and then 18 points against Little Axe. Gavin Garner was another player who saw success especially during the game against Little Axe, where he grabbed seven rebounds and scored 14 points.
Garner also made an impact defensively with three blocks against the Indians and Glenn Cerny contributed two blocks to the teams total during the game helping keep their double-digit lead.
During both games, the Racers may have tried to do too much or play too fast, but players seem optimistic that they will be able to fix their turnover problems as the season continues.
“I think it has all been us trying to play just a little too fast,” said Nichols. “It is a new system so you are going to have turnovers, especially when it is a fast system like the one we play. When we played in the Millwood tournament, we had way too many turnovers, but we are getting better with the turnovers.”
Head coach of the Racers, Kevin Johnson has put a heavy focus on film and fundamentals since coming to Newcastle, and the players will look to not only use their time wisely in the film room, but will look for the effort plays as well.
“Film is very important,” said Nichols. “Film does not lie just like stats do not lie, so film is always crucial. Effort is also crucial for us. Playing well comes with effort, and you need effort in basketball. The more effort you give the better you are probably going to play.”
The Racers looked to cut down on the turnovers at their next match up against the Blanchard Lions on December 16 at Blanchard.