Lady Cards debut to victory with shutdown defense, emerging offense

Published 10:40 am Monday, December 4, 2023

While the George Rogers Clark Lady Cardinals entered Thursday’s game ranked number two statewide in many polls, season-opening games often have a lot of unknowns.

Fortunately, the Lady Cards showed that they were well advertised.

Building their lead through each of the four quarters, the Lady Cards (2-0) defeated Great Crossing (0-2) in a 69-31 win at GRC Arena.

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“We’re excited about where we can be and what we can be, and this group works extremely hard,” said Lady Cards’ head coach Robbie Graham. “It was good to get this one under our belt.”

Inauspiciously, the Lady Cards found themselves in an early deficit, as Great Crossing took a 2-0 lead after a score by Kennedy Harrison – who led the Lady Warhawks with eight points.

Yet it was the only lead the team would have.

The Lady Cardinals battled back to build a 22-point halftime lead, anchored mainly by an aggressive defensive effort that led to 14 turnovers.

“I think we played great as a team,” said senior Makili Tabor, who finished with seven points and came down with five rebounds in the first half. “We had effort. [The] defense was there.”

Presently serving as interim head coach for the Lady Warhawks, Candace New commented that the Lady Cards’ defense created struggles.

“We didn’t execute offensively against their press [defense]. Their press was just too much for us,” New said. “We knew it was going to be tough starting [our] season with the number two team in the state.”

The Lady Cards’ offense shone at the beginning of the second half.

After forcing a turnover via a five-second violation on the Lady Warhawks’ opening possession, the Lady Cards went on a 14-0 run – including seven points in the first minute – to build a 48-12 third-quarter lead.

From there, with a running clock, they went on to victory.

Leading the charge on offense was Teigh Yates.

Playing her first game in a Cardinal uniform, the sophomore led the Lady Cards in scoring with 17 points – including 11 in the second half.

“Coach [William] Brown pulled me to the side and told me that I needed to be more aggressive,” Yeast said. “I came out, shot a little bit more, and it fell [in the hoop].”

For the Lady Cards, who had one of the most challenging schedules in Kentucky en route to a Final Four finish last season, an early test will came Saturday as they took on the highly ranked Lawrence Central Lady Bears from Indianapolis at Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell during Hoops for Harvest.

Lawrence Central finished in the Elite 8 during the 2022-2023 IHSAA Class 4A Girls Basketball State Tournament.

The Lady Cards came away with a 52-51 victory.

Indeed, not least, basketball wasn’t the only story to come out of Friday night.

On the bench for the first time since his father passed away on Sunday, Nov. 26th, Graham thanked the GRC community for their support.

“My dad wouldn’t want me to be anywhere but where I was tonight,” Graham said. “They’ve gotten me through a very tough time in my life…I just want to thank [Cardinal] nation for being there and supporting me.”