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Cardinals look for first 10th Region title in eight years

By KEITH TAYLOR

For The Sun

The George Rogers Clark boys basketball team is on a mission.

The Cardinals (26-7) will continue their a quest for a first 10th Region title since winning back-to-back titles from 2011-12 Monday night at the GRC Arena. Clark takes on Bishop Bossart in a 6 p.m. in the first semifinal contest, with the winner earning a spot in the finals.

Campbell County, the two-time defending champion, has won four of the last six region titles, will take on Montgomery County on Monday in the second semifinal set for 7:30 p.m. The Indians captured the regional title in 2013.

The hosts opened the three-day event with an 81-41 win over Augusta earlier this week and carry an eight-game winning streak into the semifinals. Although the opener was a breather, Clark guard Jerone Morton knows the task won’t be easier next week.

“We’ve got to come out and play hard every game in this tournament so we can win it,” Morton said. “We want to win it this year.”

For the first time in 51 years, Clark doesn’t have to endure a long bus ride and is getting used to its new venue. The Cardinals have won their first seven games at the GRC Arena since the facility opened its doors on Feb. 11.

“They’re living in the present moment,” Clark coach Josh Cook said. “They’re not looking too far ahead, they’re having fun and enjoying this. It’s a fun atmosphere and we’re just going out and playing together. I’m proud of them.”

Bishop Brossart (25-6) needed overtime to fend off Robertson County and escaped with a 58-54 triumph in overtime earlier this week to earn a spot in the regional semifinals. The Mustangs lost to Campbell County in the 37th District finals but have won seven of their last nine games.

“They’re smart and they play good,” Cook said. “It was a big shot by (Ethan) Ellerman and it was a heck of a play call (at the end of regulation). We have to make sure we are ready to play and control the tempo. I would imagine they’re definitely going to try to slow the tempo.”

Cook said the four-layoff gives his team “time to prepare.”

“Our kids respect Brossart and the program they are,” Cook said. “We’ll e ready for them.”

The bottom line for Clark is to win the region and earn a state berth.

 

“It’s definitely what we want,” Clark guard Jared Wellman said. “It’s going to be difficult, but we’re ready for the fight.”

 

Morton said it starts with the heart.

 

“Everybody has to be in it to win it,” he said.

 

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10th Region Tournament

at GRC Arena

 

Monday’s games

Semifinals

6 p.m., George Rogers Clark (26-7) vs. Bishop Brossart (25-6)

7:30 p.m., Montgomery County (21-12) vs. Campbell County (18-14)

 

Tuesday

Finals

7 p.m., Clark-Brossart winner vs. Montgomery-Campbell winner