Lady Racers beat Cache, 56-45; Racer boys also victorious, 46-41
Newcastle’s basketball teams are both doing pretty good these days. That’s great news as they had the Spring Homecoming ceremonies on Tuesday night against the Clinton Red Tornadoes.
The Racers’ boys beat the Elgin Owls, 41-31, on Jan. 31 and then defeated the Cache Bulldogs, 46-41, last Tuesday (Feb. 4.)
“The game at Elgin went pretty good,” Newcastle head coach Jessie Brown said. “We came out pretty fast and their best player didn’t play the first two minutes of the first quarter. We got up quickly at 7-0.
“Then, they put their best player in the game. He was pretty good and he was 6-foot-6. He got on us fast and scored about eight straight points. Needless to say, we didn’t play a very good first half.”
A little attitude adjustment from Brown and his coaching staff was all it took to get the Racers in gear for the second half.
“We were down 23-16 at halftime to Elgin. We defended well but we didn’t score. But, we came around in the third quarter and held them to zero points. From there, we were playing a lot better and we came around.”
Newcastle’s boys started the game at Cache in the same manner.
“Against Cache, we experienced kind of the same thing,” Brown said. “We got off to a very slow start. We didn’t execute our game plan very well at all the first half. Cache did some things defensively well that threw us off, too.
“But, we adjusted at halftime and we had a big third quarter. We were able to get up by six points in the third. We got up by 10 in the fourth but they made some big plays down the stretch.”
Brown and the Racers are having a fine season so far. They’ve won eight of the last 10 games after going 3-6 the first part of the season.
“We’re still looking good at 11-8,” Brown said. “We have three games this week. We have Clinton (Tuesday), Dale on Thursday, and Tuttle on Friday. We’ve have a big week this week. All three teams are ranked.”
Clinton (coached by Chad Pugh) is 14-6 and ranked No. 16 in Class 4A by the OSSAA. Dale (coached by Jeff Edmonson) is 15-6 and ranked No. 3 in Class 2A. Tuttle (coached by Bryan Merritt) is ranked No. 9 in Class 4A with a 15-6 record.
Clinton presented a difficult challenge for the Racers on Homecoming night, according to Brown. But, he is relishing the spring Homecoming festivities.
“This is a little different for me,” Brown said. “I like it. Growing up, I was used to just one homecoming a year during football season. But, it’s more popular to have it now. It’s good for the kids. I support it wholeheartedly. I think it’s great to have a homecoming during basketball season. It’s going to be a fun time.”
Meanwhile, the Lady Racers beat the Elgin Lady Owls, 62-24, on Jan. 31 and then beat the Cache Lady Bulldogs, 56-45, last Tuesday (Feb. 4.)
“We didn’t play well at Cache but came out with the win,” Newcastle head coach Brett Sanders said. “We’re battling the ‘flu bug’ right now. I had three girls sick last week and one of them couldn’t play at all. It was one of those games that we struggled to get by. We’re happy with the ‘W’ but it wasn’t very pretty. We were simply sluggish.”
Sanders said that the Lady Racers were lucky to get by the Lady Bulldogs considering their health. Karley Johnson and Reagan Fox played but were not well. Lauren Cook stayed home because she wasn’t able to play at all.
“Karley was sick but she played,” Sanders said. “She was in the locker room huggin’ the trash can. Lauren Cook – my post player – was a ‘no show’ because she just had to be at home. Reagan wasn’t feeling well but she played to the best of her abilities as she could. We got by Cache and I’m happy with that.”
This week is another tough one on the schedule for Sanders and his Lady Racers. Newcastle played Clinton (7-13) on Tuesday during Homecoming. Then, they play Dale (ranked No. 5 in Class 2A with a 14-6 record under head coach Eric Smith) tonight (Feb. 13.)
Newcastle’s final game of the regular season is Friday against Class 4A No. 9 Tuttle. The Lady Tigers (coached by Brian Lester) are 17-4 and they beat Newcastle, 43-38, at their place on Jan. 21.
“Clinton is one of those teams that are very scary,” Sanders said. “They played Weatherford tough and Weatherford beat us pretty badly (68-54 on Jan. 17.) Clinton was ahead of Weatherford the other night until the fourth quarter.
“Clinton has beaten some teams you thought they would have never beaten. Some other teams have beaten Clinton that you wouldn’t think could have. So, that’s why I say they are scary. They have a really quick point guard who’s a really good player. They have two girls on the wings who can shoot the ‘3’ really well. If they get hot, we’ll be in trouble.”
What does Sanders think of Dale?
“I think he’s lost one of his good players from last year,” Sanders said. “Dale is still strong but maybe not as good as they were last year. Still, they are always good and will be a great challenge for us.”