Cards, Lady Cards take rivalry double over Montgomery Co.
Published 5:13 pm Monday, January 30, 2023
The rivalry between George Rogers Clark and Montgomery County high schools is intense, and it was no surprise that when both basketball teams traveled to Mount Sterling on Friday evening, they were in for a frenzy.
However, victory did not deny GRC.
The Lady Cards escaped with a hard-fought 67-57 victory, while the Cards overcame an early five-point deficit to win 87-62.
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“We battled through it,” said Lady Cards Head Coach Robbie Graham. “We’ll work on some things and keep improving.”
The Lady Cards (15-6) and Lady Indians (16-8) were fighting for the number one seed in the 40th District Tournament.
The two teams went back and forth early, with Kennedy Stamper (13 points) initially getting the Lady Cards on the scoreboard.
After failing to deliver on a three-point shot in their previous victory over Bourbon County, the team let loose from beyond the arc by connecting on six three-point shots throughout the game.
In the first half, Makili Tabor – who finished with a season-high nine points – delivered on a pair of shots, while Trinity Gay connected on one just before halftime to enter the locker room with a 31-22 lead.
The Lady Cards extended their lead to 14 points in the third quarter.
However, Montgomery County wouldn’t go quietly.
A 14-3 run brought the Lady Indians to within three points.
Yet following two more three-point baskets from Stamper and freshman Anaya Chestnut, the Lady Cards built back the lead and never looked back.
They also forced multiple turnovers with solid defense from their starting lineup and reserves, including Brook Taylor, Jaylynn Goodwin, Annette Miller, and Kyleigh Chestnut.
“It was just a lot of emotions, but we knew what it was going to be when we came out here,” said senior Brianna Byars, who finished with 15 points. “[Myself] and Ciara [Byars] know that we’re both going to get double and triple teamed throughout the season…we’ve had to prepare our girls every day to let them know [to] be ready to shoot on the outside and just keep working.”
With the victory, the Lady Cards clinched the number one seed for the 40th District postseason tournament.
“Goal number one is [to] be the one seed, so we’ve reached that goal”, Graham added. “Now it’s on to goal number two.”
Following the girls’ triumph, the Cards prepared to take on the Indians.
After a 34-point victory against Montgomery County just weeks earlier, some might have thought the win would be easy to come by.
However, inspired to play in front of the home crowd, the Indians raced out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minute and a half, prompting an early time-out by Coach Cook.
Coming out of it, the Cards took control of the contest and led Montgomery County 23-16 by the end of the first quarter.
“They responded and [had] more focus”, said Cards’ Head Coach Cook said. “It’s a hyped game [with] a lot of emotions, and that takes into effect…Once they focused, they went on a great run.”
The Cards were able to establish a 17-point halftime lead, despite the student section of Montgomery County trying to create havoc.
However, desperate for a comeback, Montgomery County made one last run to narrow the deficit to 11 points midway through the third quarter.
Yet three consecutive three-point shots by junior Reshaun Hampton built back the Cardinal lead and secured victory.
“My teammates just [found] me. I told them, ‘I’m [going to] be open,’” said Hampton. “They trusted me, and I made shots.”
Along with the starting five, the Cards bench contributed through players such as Eli Craig, J.P. Gaines, Kareem Guerrant, and Hampton Taylor.
Trent Edwards finished as the Cards’ leading scorer with 20 points, while three others – Hampton, Jerone Morton, and Sam Parrish – scored more than 10 points.
The Cards’ last three games have yielded their three highest point totals of the season.
“Ball movement is a big part of…why we’re able to score so much,” Hampton said.
Coach Cook was happy with his team’s effort.
“For the most part, we were solid,” he said. “We moved the basketball…it’s been the most effective thing for us.”
The teams continue this week with non-district play as the Lady Cards take on Mason County (8-13) at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at GRC Arena and Henry Clay (14-9) Thursday night at the same time and location.
The Cards head to Frankfort for a matchup with Franklin County (9-10) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and return home on Friday for a 7:00 game against Scott (9-13).