Lady Racers set for Class 4A title run
The beat certainly doesn’t stop for the Newcastle Racers girls’ basketball team.
Even though the Lady Racers had their streak of consecutive state playoff appearances broken last year, they are quickly finding a way to rely on their underclassmen as well as their seasoned veterans to renew their string of appearances at “The Big Dance.”
Recently, the Racers upped their record to 2-0 with big wins against the Purcell Dragons (66-34) and the Chickasha Fighting Chicks (100-25) last weekend.
Against Purcell last Friday, Newcastle used relentless pressure defense in the first half to take control of the game from the outset.
“We were up 46-5 with a couple of minutes left in the first half,” said Newcastle head coach Brett Sanders. “We quit pressuring them the rest of the game. We ended up winning the game handily by 32 points.”
Then, Newcastle demolished Chickasha. In the game against Purcell, freshman point guard Karley Johnson scored 18 points while senior center Maddy North continued her stout play from last season with 18 points, too.
Against the Chicks, Newcastle was led by freshman Maddi Burchett’s 33 points and Reagan Fox’s 22 points. If Newcastle can keep up the offensive pace they’ve shown, it should be an exciting year.
“We won big against Chickasha, no doubt,” Sanders said. “We won big and we played very well.”
The Newcastle club has lost some key members from last year’s 15-12 team that lost to Tuttle, 45-39, in the regional at Ardmore last February. Promising guard Tameka Talley has taken her talents to McGuinness. Meanwhile, Grace Rehl has probably been knocked out for the year with an ACL injury.
“Tameka Talley has moved to McGuinness,” Sanders said. “Grace Rehl has torn her ACL so she probably won’t play. But, we have had a lot of freshman play and step up so far. All of them have played well and put in some good minutes.”
The seniors for Newcastle include North, Kori Burns, Morgan Bergt, Emily Coyne, and Terra Funk. The juniors include Rehl, Piper Hough-ton, Madison Barnett, and Jenna Gilbertson. The sophomores are Abby Coyne and Gorgeous Wilson. The freshman are Burchett, Fox, Karley Johnson, and Rylee Kopf.
Sanders has begun his sixth year at the helm of the Racers program. He has a 102-41 record as Newcastle’s head coach, which includes the Class 4A state championship in 2016 when Newcastle went 28-4. Sanders also won Class 4A state titles at Anadarko in 2005 and Cache in 2010.
“The freshmen are working well with my older girls and we have a good mixture of newcomers and veterans,” Sanders said. “We hope we improve and we’ll try to show that against Kingfisher. We’ll be able to see a little more out of this bunch there.”
Newcastle traveled to Kingfisher to play the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday. The Racers are slated to play at the prestigious 22nd annual Nike Tournament of Champions Dec. 18-22 in Phoenix, Ariz.