RDC boys tip off hoops season

Published 3:00 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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While the four-time defending 10th Region Championship-winning George Rogers Clark High School boys basketball team begins its season in three weeks, plenty of action is already taking place in the gyms in and around Winchester.

The sixth, seventh and eighth-grade boys basketball teams at Robert D. Campbell Junior High School began their seasons this week, each standing at 1-1 following last week’s matchups.

Their seasons began last Tuesday, Nov. 3, with matchups against Powell County Middle School.

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While the sixth and seventh-grade boys proved victorious, the same could not be said of the eighth-grade squad.

Just three days later on Nov. 9, the opposite occurred.

As with Powell County, the Cards hosted a trio of games at RDC’s location on Boone Avenue.

The fact that they were playing J.B. McNabb Middle School of Montgomery County further amplified the contests, which saw a sizable crowd for all three games.

The sixth-grade squad narrowly fell in the first contest by a 33-30 score, while a strong McNabb team pulled away in the second half for a 41-21 victory.

At the beginning of the eighth-grade contest, it looked as though the outcome might be much the same as McNabb took a 5-0 first-quarter lead.

However, the Cards would not be denied.

RDC went on a dominant 14-2 run and continued building on their lead en route to a convincing 61-34 victory.

“I thought we bounced back from our first game and played really hard”, said RDC eighth grade coach Dwain Gay. “We seemed a little bit more comfortable offensively…with a lot more cutting and a lot more screening. It allowed us to get better shots.”

Among those putting up points for the Cards was Walker Gaines, who finished with 15 points – including 11 in the first half – before sitting for much of the fourth quarter.

“I was just thinking about going through my reads,” Gaines said. “Read the gaps and just play basketball. Have fun!”

Of course, while scoring occurred via the offense, it certainly wasn’t without defensive contributions.

The Cards’ aggressive defense created multiple turnovers, often leading to points via layups or other uncontested shots.

“I think our defensive intensity caused them to turn the ball over, which gave us more opportunities,” Gay said. “Our 2-2-1 [defense] is what really got us going.”

While the season is early, there’s reason for optimism.

“We’re coming along pretty quick,” Gay said. “Guys like tonight are confidence builders. They get to see what it’s like when you execute and do things the right way.”