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Newcastle girls beat Blanchard, start Mustang Tourney with win; Racer boys lose to Lions in overtime, but defense still playing well

The Newcastle girls’ basketball team is playing pretty good basketball these days. The Lady Racers defeated the Blanchard Lady Lions, 59-52, on Dec. 20 on the road with a very strong fourth quarter outburst.

Newcastle scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to finally pull away from the pesky Lions, who dropped to 1-5 on the year.

“Like always, Blanchard was a tough place to play at,” Newcastle assistant coach Ben Rice said. “You have to credit Blanchard with playing good defense. We finally started playing good basketball in the fourth quarter.

“We ended up scoring 28 points in that period and we pulled away. Reagan Fox and Karley Johnson got hot. Some other role players went in and they put in some good minutes. It was definitely a good win for us.”

The Lady Racers got a whopping 28 points from Fox and another 25 points from Johnson. Both are just sophomores but they are looking to pick up the slack left behind from a devastating injury to starter Rylee Kopf, who injured her knee during a 59-31 win at Bethany on Dec. 17th and is out for the season.

“Rylee is definitely out with a torn ACL in her left knee,” Rice said. “She’s expected to have surgery on Jan. 2nd. She’ll be ready to go for next season, though. The doctors are expecting her to make a full recovery and actually be better than what she was before the injury.”

On Thursday evening, the Newcastle girls traveled to the Cornerstone Bank Tournament in Mustang. The Lady Racers defeated the Class 6A Owasso Lady Rams, 63-40.

Before the tournament started, Rice said the Lady Racers had better be prepared for some stiff competition in the tourney.

“We better play well in that tournament,” Rice said. “All eight teams are capable of winning it. It’s going to be a really good test for us. We’re very much looking forward to the challenge. We will start off playing Owasso on Thursday. If all goes well, then we’ll play the winner of Mustang and Verdigris. It’s a good tournament and a lot of top teams are playing in it.”

Newcastle played Mustang last Friday as the Class 6A No. 16 Lady Broncos (4-4) beat the Class 4A No. 8 Verdigris Lady Cardinals (7-2), 55-47, during last Thursday’s opening round of the tourney. The Lady Racers were ranked No. 3 in Class 4A by the OSSAA with a 5-0 record before playing Mustang.

Meanwhile, the shooting woes continued for the Newcastle boys’ basketball team. The Racers dropped to 2-5 on the year under head coach Jessie Brown with a gut-churning 43-42 loss in overtime to the Blanchard Lions on the road.

“I thought we played terrible, honestly,” Brown said. “Defensively, we were locked in but, offensively, we were horrible. They held our leading scorer to six points. There wasn’t much to take away from that game.”

Brown spoke of Kalub Hunt, the Racers’ leading scorer and a hot

com-modity

right

now

among

colleges and

universities at the moment.

“Kalub Hunt is a good player,” Brown said. “He’s averaging 19 points per game right now and he already has two (scholarship) offers and is working on more. Blanchard just handcuffed him and played really tough defensively.”

Shooting the basketball with success comes and goes. Right now, the shooting touch just isn’t there for the Racers yet. But, Brown is glad to see his team isn’t sacrificing effort on the defensive end.

Like always, Brown sees the cup half-full instead of half-empty for the Racers.

“We were up by 11 points, nine points, and eight points at different times during the game,” Brown said. “We blew the lead every time. We will be better, no doubt about it. We have played some really good teams and we are battle tested now. It’s just time for us to take that experience and show it on the court.”

The Newcastle basketball teams return home on Jan. 7th when they play host to Anadarko.

The girls will play at 6:30 p.m. against the Lady Warriors, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 4A by the OSSAA with a sparkling 6-1 record under head coach Jeff Zinn.

The boys will play at 8 p.m. against the Warriors, who are ranked No. 19 in Class 4A by the OSSAA with a 3-4 mark under head coach Doug Schumpert.

UPDATE: The Newcastle girls’ basketball team lost to Class 6A No. 16 Mustang, 57-41, on Friday. The Lady Racers, though, atoned with a 58-45 victory over Class 6A No. 15 Bixby, 58-45, on Saturday. Newcastle is now 6-1 heading into the contest against Anadarko.

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