GRC basketball notebook: Double rivalry wins, Lady Cards fall to Crimsons

Published 11:49 am Monday, January 16, 2023

It was a busy weekend for George Rogers Clark High School basketball, particularly for the Lady Cards.

Fortunately, both came out on top against rival Montgomery County.

During a battle of what many consider the two best teams in the 10th Region, the Lady Cards (11-4) were triumphant in a 69-45 victory.

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The Cards (12-4) – with Tyleik Maxwell returning to the starting lineup for the first time in two weeks after an appendectomy – came through with an 85-51 win.

“I thought we moved the ball better as a team. That’s what it’s about…everyone will have a chance to have success,” said Cards head coach Josh Cook.

The atmosphere surrounding the night’s games was anything but ordinary.

Along with a solid number of fans and locals from the Montgomery County area making the twenty-minute drive to Winchester, GRC’s student section dressed appropriately for a night with a “Friday the 13th” theme.

To begin the evening, the Lady Cards stormed to an early lead, leading 17-7 after one quarter.

While stars Ciara and Brianna Byars were each held to only two points early on, the Cards received help off the bench – getting points from Annette Miller and Makili Tabor.

Trinity Gay, who led the team in scoring in last year’s 10th Region Championship win over the Lady Indians, had 7 of her 14 points in the opening period.

Though the Lady Indians’ Hayden Barrier came through with 21 points, the Lady Cards, as a team, outscored the Lady Indians each period.

Brianna and Ciara Byars each caught fire as the game wore on, scoring 20 and 19 points, respectively.

“We just really had to sit down and guard and just play our game,” said Ciara Byars. “Once we finally did, it was a better game.”

The Lady Cards’ head coach, Robbie Graham, was complimentary of how his team played.

“We played a pretty good game for the most part…[the] kids played hard. It was a good atmosphere,” said Graham.

Immediately following the Lady Cards’ win, the Cards took to the court to take on the Indians.

Montgomery County came into the game with an improved 12-5 record, and – with Maxwell playing his first game of 2023 – some might have believed that there was some uncertainty for the Cards.

However, GRC looked comfortable and roared to victory after starting the contest on a 9-0 run.

Two of those points came from Maxwell, scoring six points.

“It felt good. It was tough being out that long. I never like sitting,” he said. “I was just happy to be back [with my team] and ready.”

Eight different players for the Cards found the scoreboard, including double-digit point totals from Jerone Morton (23), Sam Parrish (9), and Reshaun Hampton (11).

Additionally, Trent Edwards was celebrated for scoring his 1,000th point during the Cards’ play in the Beach Ball Classic shortly after Christmas.

Though seven Indians found the scoreboard, only Dawson Gentry (12) reached double-digits.

Cards head coach Josh Cook was pleased with how his team played.

“I thought we moved the ball better as a team. That’s what it’s about…everyone will have a chance to have success,” said Cook.

On Saturday, GRC Arena once again was a sight for basketball.

With five games taking place as a part of the 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Classic, MVP Awards were presented by the Winchester Sun after each game.

In the night’s final matchup featuring what many believe to be two of the top five teams in Kentucky, the Lady Cards took on the DuPont Manual Lady Crimsons.

DuPont Manual entered the contest as winners of 14 consecutive contests.

Despite a valiant effort that saw them narrow a 12-point deficit down to four in the last period, GRC came short in a 75-64 defeat.

The Lady Crimsons connected on eight three-point baskets and made 23 of 27 free throws.

Senior Brianna Byars kept the Lady Cards in the game with a season-high 26 points.

“They’re a really good team. They shot the ball really, really well,” Graham said. “We got down, and we didn’t quit. We gave ourselves a chance. This is the kind of game that’ll help you in postseason play.”

With 7 points against both Manual and Montgomery County – including a buzzer-beater – freshman Annette Miller arose as a potential breakout star for the Lady Cards.

“I noticed my teammates were playing really hard, and I wanted to play hard for them and match [their] energy,” she said. “That brings my energy out and helps the team out.”

The Lady Cards played Monday against King’s Christian Collegiate (Oakland, Ontario) at the Classic in the City at Pickerington Central High School (OH). Scores and stats were not available at press time. They’ll also play at Frederick Douglass High School on Wednesday at 7:30.

The Cards are at home Tuesday night against Tates Creek at 7:30 p.m.

Both play in Winchester against Paris at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, at home on Friday.