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Racer girls beat Bethany but win was expensive;

Newcastle boys lose tough contest to Bronchos

The Newcastle girls’ basketball team beat the Bethany Lady Bronchos, 59-31, at Bethany’s gymnasium on Tuesday. The victory brought the Class 4A No. 3-ranked Racers record to 3-0.

But, the win was a costly one.

“In the first half, we played really well at Bethany,” Newcastle head coach Brett Sanders said. “I think we were clicking on all cylinders. “Then, in the second half, we were devastated by Rylee Kopf going down with an ACL tear. We’re really going to miss her. We just have to regroup and start playing again.”

Kopf exploded on the scene last year as a freshman and helped lead the Racers to the Class 4A state tournament. She’ll be out for the rest of the season but hopefully she’ll return her junior year.

“It’s tough,” Sanders said. “We had our Christmas party (Thursday) night and she was really upset. We were having dinner and the party at my house. It’s a family tradition of ours to give one thing that they’re thankful for. We started at the back of the line with the freshman girls and worked our way up to the seniors.

“Everybody was thankful for their family, the team, and other things. When we got to Rylee, she said, ‘I’m thankful that this happened to me and none of you all.’ That just tells you what kind of girl she is. Of course, everybody started crying. It was really emotional but that just tells you what kind of person she is. We went on and said our blessings. We had a good time. It was memorable, for sure.”

Newcastle played at Blanchard on Friday night. Blanchard is 1-4 this year. The Lady Lions have had a tough schedule so far.

They lost to Class 6A No. 4 Tulsa Union, 31-20, in the Plainview Tournament to start the season. They beat Class 4A Pauls Valley, 74-37, but lost to the host Plainview Lady Indians, 40-37.

Blanchard also dropped a 69-36 decision to Class 4A No. 1 Anadarko on Dec. 10. In the Lady Lions’ last game on Dec. 17, they lost, 69-60, in overtime to Class 4A No. 10 Tuttle.

“Blanchard always plays really well against us,” Sanders said. “They have a really good ball club and we’ll just have to come ready to play.”

Meanwhile, the Newcastle boys’ basketball team lost at Bethany, 55-40, last Tuesday.

“I thought we came out and played hard,” Newcastle head coach Jessie Brown said. “Early in the game, it was back and forth for a little bit. But, we gave up an 8-0 run in the second quarter which hurt us. Bethany is a good team – big and athletic. We’ve been struggling to score lately. We try to hold teams to 50 points and we almost did that. We’re doing pretty well on defense.

“We just haven’t been putting the ball in the hole. It’s just really hurting us right now. You got to put the ball in the bucket to have success. I think the boys are playing as hard as they can. They hustle and play to the best of their ability.”

The Bethany Bronchos are 2-2 now and ranked No. 19 in Class 4A. After getting some big guys back from football season, Brown can easily see Bethany moving up the rankings in the near future.

“They have Bethany at No. 19 in our class but I think they are a top five team right now,” Brown said. “They had all of their football players back and they are a good team. They just had to incorporate those guys back in into the lineup. They sure are a top five team, in my opinion.”

Brown and his team hope to remedy their shooting woes soon.

“We went back to the drawing board this week in practice,” Brown said. “We got after it and had good practices. We tried to redefine our identity and what we want to do on the court this season. I’m pleased with their reactions. We got after it and hopefully that effort will show up on the court come game time.”

Newcastle played at Blanchard on Friday night. The Lions are 0-4. They’ve lost to Class 5A Ardmore (62-45), Class 4A Pauls Valley (71-67), Class 4A No. 7 Anadarko (54-52 in overtime), and Class 4A No. 13 Tuttle (66-44).

“It’s a rivalry game,” Brown said. “Always has been and always will be. Blanchard has Chase Fox who was with us last year. He’s a guy who can fill it up and we know about that. Blanchard also has Whit Carpenter and he’s playing really well for them this year. If we just come out and play hard, I think we’ll do well.

“I’ve taken a step back lately and just focused on our team. What can we do to win games? I do scout other teams a little but we want to re-define ourselves and figure out what we can do this year. I think we’re on the right track.”

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