Cards stampede Thorobreds, will face host Mason County for 10th Region Championship

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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It was a stampede Monday night in the 10th Region semifinals.

The defending region and state champion George Rogers Clark Cardinals (26-5) defeated the Harrison County Thorobreds (27-7) at the Mason County Fieldhouse, 69-56.

The Cards jumped out to a 24-2 lead and held off Harrison County’s comeback attempts.

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“We came out really good. Coach Cook had a good [scouting report],” said senior guard Jerone Morton, who had a game-high 25 points “It’s just making plays and reacting. The shots were there, so I was taking them and we just played with confidence.”

Much as they did in their regular season matchup, the Cards jumped out to an early lead behind a crisp offense and a defense that created off-balance shots and forced turnovers – several getting converted into points – en route to a 24-6 advantage at the end of one quarter.

The Cards’ defense eventually forced the Thorobreds into 19 turnovers against only 8 of their own.

The Cards and Thorobreds battled back and forth throughout the second quarter, with neither squad wanting to budge.

When the Cards took a 41-19 lead into halftime, the deficit felt insurmountable to many.

However, Harrison County showed grit.

Led by 19 points from Kaydon Custard, the team went on a 13-0 run midway through the third period to narrow what seemed like an insurmountable 20+ point deficit down to 12.

However, following a technical foul against Harrison County, junior guard Reshaun Hampton delivered a pair of free throws to give the Cards a 14-point advantage.

The Cards would score on the ensuing possession and eventually increase their lead to over 20 points.

Late in the game, with many reserves coming off the bench, Harrison County narrowed the deficit once more.

But the sturdy Cardinal defense that held the Thorobreds to just 35.4% shooting from the field, including 27.3% in the first half, was too much to overcome.

“At the end of the day, postseason play is just all about defense,” added Morton. “Defense is going to win you games.”

Statistically, the Cards also got 16 points from Sam Parrish and 12 from Trent Edwards.

The team finished the game with 24 rebounds, including 19 on defense.

“It’s an emotional game, and the guys played [well] and played smart,” said GRC Head Coach Josh Cook.

Following the victory, GRC will face Mason County in the 10th Region Championship Game on Wednesday night, with the winner advancing to the 2023 KHSAA Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena beginning next week.

Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Mason County Fieldhouse.

The Royals (29-5) advanced to the championship game following a 75-67 victory against Campbell County (22-12).