GRC secures easy first-round win over St. Patrick

Published 10:33 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

The George Rogers Clark Cardinals were no match for the St. Patrick Saints as the Cards dominated all four quarters in the first round of the 10th Region tournament Thursday.

GRC forced St. Patrick to turn the ball over on their first five possessions and quickly went up 11-0 before the Saints called a timeout to regroup.

St. Patrick did not score their first point until nearly four minutes into the game until a three-pointer ended the dry streak.

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The Saints could hardly dribble the ball beyond half court before turning it over which was another issue causing the scoring drought.

GRC was up 24 points by the end of the first quarter.

The starters did not even see playing time in the second half of the contest.

The Cards had 14 different players score a basket with Hayley Harrison leading the way with 16 points.

Head coach Robbie Graham said it felt good to have the full team in the line up despite injuries from Harrison and Kennedy Igo, both who missed the 40th District tournament, and Maleaha Bell who fully recovered from a gruesome fall in the district championship.

“Looking out there in warm ups in full uniform was a good feeling,” he said. “It hasn’t happened in a while. Looking at the bench and being able to put subs in who haven’t been there for a few games was also a good feeling. We wanted to have a good start and, no disrespect to St. Patrick, but we wanted to pressure them. They had some young players and we wanted to put them in a awkward situation and turn the ball over. We wanted to get our girls in and out. We’re leaving injury-free, knock on wood, but we’re excited to get the win. It’s survive and advance and we’re excited to be playing Monday against a good team. We’ve seen Scott High and we know each other well. There’s not going to be any surprises and I know they’re just as excited to play us as we are them.”

Graham said the maturity of his team helps them stay locked in and focused on games where they are winning big from the jump.

“We have all have a goal in mind,” he said. “One slip up will cost us the goal. We wanted to be focused and sharp. We prepared for St. Pat like we’ll prepare for Scott. We don’t want to overlook anyone. We don’t take anyone lightly and don’t want to leave anything to chance. We want to roll over every stone and have every stone uncovered. They are focused and are a very mature group who is ready to go.”

Graham said he was not surprised by the effort and how well the girls who were injured adjusted to being back on the court.

“Experience and toughness plays a big part of that,” he said. “Those girls have played a lot of basketball. They’ve been through a lot and just to get the opportunity to get out here again really had their blood pumping I’m sure. They didn’t favor any ankles or anything like that so it was good to get them out there.”

Graham said rebounding will be the key to securing a semifinal win over Scott to take his team to their third straight region championship.

“We’re going to have to rebound the basketball,” he said. “Scott does a really good job of rebounding. They have some really good players. Not just in our region, but they have some of the best players in the state. We know we have our hands full and they will be really good. We’ll be prepared and they’ll be prepared so it’ll come down to little things. 50/50 balls, taking charges, turnovers and rebounding the ball.”