Sports Buzz: Lady Cards, Thanks For the Memories

Published 1:14 pm Monday, March 14, 2022

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Prior to this season, I’d seen and even covered my share of boys basketball games. However, I’ll be the first one to admit – regrettably – that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a full girls basketball game.

Of course, I’d seen the occasional highlight reels of Diana Taurasi and the UConn women’s team, and heard of greats such as Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes. Still, I wasn’t as much of a follower to their game as I was that of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry.

So, when Sun editor Miles Layton asked if I could provide coverage for both the boys and girls basketball teams at George Rogers Clark High School this year, I was excited about the opportunity – yet not completely sure what to expect.

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In doing research, I discovered that GRC had a rich history in girls basketball – the kind that captivates both a fan, and a community as I later discovered.

At first, my ignorance was probably on display.

In Kentucky, the District Tournament comes before the Regional Tournament.

In my home state of Illinois, it’s reversed. The Regional Playoff tournament comes first, followed by the second-round playoff tournament, called the Sectionals.

Some unintentional humor therefore arose initially when I couldn’t understand why there was so much talk about winning the Region when I imagined the second-round tournament would be further on in the season.

However, once comfortable with some background knowledge, I attended my first Lady Cards game on Dec. 18 at Lexington Christian Academy against Boyd County. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, their opponent was nobody to be overlooked – the Lady Lions themselves made in appearance in the Sweet 16 after winning the 16th Region.

From the opening tip-off, the intensity of the game was noticeable. It was a physical first quarter that saw three fouls in the first minute and 30 seconds alone. No dirty play, just tough, hard-nosed basketball. So much so that, at the end of the quarter, I looked at the person next to me and stated, “That was intense for me…and I’m sitting down!”

As I watched more games throughout the season, I saw the same passion, determination, grit, and enthusiasm.
Many times, it resulted in solid teamwork that helped defeat teams by large margins – a 48-point blowout over Scott County, a 38-point victory against Henry Clay, a 54-point win against Bourbon County in the postseason.

Other times, it was displayed in how the team came through in the clutch – a strong 4th-quarter to defeat Paris, a dominant second-half to win the District Tournament over Montgomery County, a tough defensive outing to defeat Corbin in the KHSAA Sweet 16 Tournament.

All the while, the results were the same – victory!

As a personal favorite, the hallmark of this team’s success that I’ll remember came in the Region Tournament Championship Game against the Lady Indians.

To those who watched the Lady Cards throughout the year, the fact that they jumped out to an 18-5
first-quarter lead wouldn’t come across as too big of a surprise. However, even I had to tip my cap in surprise of one statistic – of those 18 points, 13 came from off the bench.

Great players are great when they have to be – and they were this season! Yet, it can just as truly be said that a great team beats a great player every day.

A 31-3 season in which five Region winners – Boyd County, Anderson County, Franklin County, Corbin, and Final Four member Southwestern – were defeated by the Lady Cards would confirm this.

Although they fell short against the eventual state champion Sacred Heart Valkyries on Friday night – a loss which I have no doubt will fuel their fire this offseason – I’ll leave this post with one more noteworthy fact.

From the first game I saw GRC play until Friday night, I’d never seen them lose. That timeline is 84 days, or 23% of a year.

Every sportswriter hopes to write about something special. I got to cover a team for nearly a quarter of the year – and never saw them lose.

I certainly hope this isn’t the last time I get to have such an opportunity. In either event, whether this is 15 minutes of fame or just the beginning, I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

Thanks, Lady Cards, for letting me be along for the adventure.