Cards edge out Great Crossing; topple Perry County Central
Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023
After losing four of five matchups before defeating Paris and being without starter Tyleik Maxwell following an appendectomy, some might have doubted the Cards’ resolve.
However, those individuals were not in the locker room simultaneously as GRC.
The Cards toppled Great Crossing 52-51 on Thursday night, followed by a 69-48 victory over Perry County Central in the final matchup of the Tim Short Automotive Classic.
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The first matchup was a rematch of Dec. 18th’s contest – when the Warhawks ended the Cards’ 37-game winning streak with a narrow victory – while the second was a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16 matchup in the KHSAA State Basketball Tournament.
“We know what type of team we are…as long as we play [our best], we can play with anybody day or night”, says senior guard Sam Parrish.
In the first matchup, the Cards jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and held the highly-ranked Warhawks to only two points on a score with just over 30 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
J.P. Gaines, who started in place of Maxwell, played a key role.
By leading the Cards with eight rebounds, Gaines’ efforts resulted in several points being scored on second-chance opportunities.
“I was just trying to do my job and get the team a win…whether it was boxing out or trying to grab rebounds [and] get assists”, he said.
The Cards were led offensively by Jerone Morton’s 17 points.
However, despite the early surge, the Cards were not to go unchallenged.
Behind Jeremiah Godfrey’s 19 points and 18 from Junius Burrell, Great Crossing rallied to make the score 35-34 in favor of GRC at the end of the third quarter.
Offensively, both teams would score nearly one-third of their team’s points in an up-and-down fourth-quarter battle culminating in GRC’s final possession.
Driving to the lane as the Cards looked to take the last shot with the score tied at 51, Parrish got fouled.
Standing at the free-throw line, he hit the first of two shots to give the Cards a 52-51 lead with only 2.7 seconds remaining.
Though they had one more chance, Great Crossing’s half-court shot attempt at the buzzer went wide of the rim.
“Anytime you [have] two teams of this type of caliber that believe they can win, you’re [going to] have a heck of a basketball game”, GRC Head Coach Josh Cook said.
Two days later, the Cards were again back in action at GRC Arena to take on the Commodores.
Once again, a solid first half gave the Cards a double-digit lead.
They would take a 37-16 lead into halftime.
Though Perry County Central would cut into the lead in the third quarter, the Cards built it back to walk away with a convincing victory.
“”We’re on the winning side of things, and I hope we can keep moving in that direction”, Cook said. “We want to develop our bench a little more and give guys some opportunities to hopefully get some special things.”
As part of that process, sophomore Hampton Taylor entered halfway through the third quarter and scored for the second time in his last three games.
“I was just feeling confident right off the jump”, said Taylor. “I’m just thankful for it.”
While Jerone Morton had 19 points and Sam Parrish added 18, Reshaun Hampton was arguably the biggest star.
Scoring 17 points – including the first three of the game – the junior took home Tim Short Automotive Classic MVP honors for the second consecutive year.
His defense also helped create timely turnovers for the Cards.
“In warmups, everything was going in, so I knew it was going to be a good game”, said Hampton. “My teammates found me…from there, it was good shooting.”
Both the Cards and Lady Cards play on Tuesday night at Bourbon County. The Lady Cards will play at 6:00 p.m., and the Cards will play at 7:00 p.m.
They’ll be back at GRC Arena on Friday to take on rival Montgomery County. Game times will be the same.