Cards tame Cougars 70-19 in Vanous Lloyd Christmas Tournament; Cards’ Ciara Byars scores 17 points

Published 2:41 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

By Matt Cizek/Contributor       Fresh off their overtime win against Southwestern in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic, the Lady Cardinals looked to not take matters lightly against the Lady Cougars from McLean County.

As such, they planned accordingly en route to a dominant 70-19 victory Tuesday afternoon in the opener of the Vanous Lloyd Christmas Tournament at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis.

“We wanted to create some turnovers defensively, and get some baskets off those turnovers,” Head Coach Robbie Graham said. “Offensively, we wanted to really attack the rim, and pound it inside. We thought our size would be an advantage. I felt like we did a good job of that.”

En route to the Lady Cards’ success, Ciara Byars continued to light up the scoreboard with 17 points while Brianna Byars had 13 as well. In a season-high offensive performance, 7 th grader Kennedy Stamper came up big, tallying 15 points of her own.

They were just a few of the individuals creating scoring opportunities in a prolific offensive outing for George Rogers Clark High School.
“They [McLean County] were doubling our posts a lot. We were able to kick out and find shooters,” Graham said. “Ball movement was a lot better, and it led to some open shots.”

This came with senior forward Tyra Flowers – who played a pivotal role in the Lady Cards’ previous win against the Southwestern Warriors thanks to 18 points and 9 rebounds – on the sideline.

Following a longer layoff and as is sometimes the case when returning from Holiday break, it took some time for the team to get back into form.

“We started out really sluggish, really slow. In the first half, we didn’t play with much energy, [but] we got it going in the second half,” Graham said. “We had a couple days of practice coming down, you just never know how a team’s going to respond taking that many days off.”

Still, for enthusiastic fans of the Lady Cards, a 51-point victory leaves much to be excited about.

“We’re glad to be back, [and that everyone] got to be with their families. Now, it’s back to the grind. We’re definitely happy to get a win today.”

As they’re determined to continue success game by game, and follow up on a 7-game winning streak after their lone loss to Tates Creek – not to mention their first ever capturing of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic – the Lady Cards look to acknowledge successes.

“Anytime you can win a tournament, especially against that quality of a team playing four games in four days, it’s always good,” Graham said. “Obviously, the big picture is District and Region Championships.”

On both ends of the floor, the Lady Cards will continue to develop strengths and improve as a squad.

“It’s a team game, and each game someone will step up,” Graham said. “We can always play great defense, and always rebound as a team. You’ve got to rely on your defense and your rebounding – especially if you want to continue being successful.”