SWEET 16: GRC girls hoping to slay Dragons in first round

Published 12:27 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The George Rogers Clark High School girls basketball team has attained its goal it set at the beginning of the season.

But now the Cardinals are headed to BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University Wednesday for the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Girls’ Sweet 16 Tournament.

For a team like the Cardinals, just being there isn’t likely going to be enough. The last time GRC reached the state tournament, the Cards won a pair of games to reach the semifinals.

If they want to pass that plateau, they will have to start with getting past Harlan (27-8) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The Dragons come into the first round of the state tournament hot off an upset of rival Harlan County, 59-52, in the 13th Region championship.

Harlan had lost both regular season meetings against Harlan County and dropped the 52nd District Tournament Championship to its rival. But the Dragons defeated Clay County, 47-42, in the opening round of the region before topping South Laurel in the semifinal round, 54-47, to get another crack at Harlan County.

The Dragons are led by Jordan Brock who puts in 25.1 points a game. She has scored 880 points this season largely from beyond the 3-point arc. She is a 35.2-percent shooter from long range. More than half her shots this season have come from deep.

As a team, the Dragons sank 10 3-pointers in their region title game victory.

Harlan also gets 13.3 points a game from Mackenzie King. Emma Bianchi is Harlan’s weapon on the glass, pulling down 6.5 rebounds a game.

The Dragons are an experienced bunch with a pair of seniors and five juniors. They return to the state tournament for the second straight year.

Last season, they were ousted in the opening round by Owensboro Catholic, 69-49.

The winner of Wednesday’s contest will face the winner of the 6:30 p.m. game — either the 12th Region’s Mercer County or the 16th Region’s Boyd County — in the second round.