Cardinal Classic takes place in Winchester

Published 11:30 am Monday, June 17, 2024

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Several schools in Winchester and across Clark County – including George Rogers Clark High School and Robert D. Campbell Junior High School – were filled with school buses on Thursday and Friday of this past week. 

Yet it was for far more than your typical summer camp. 

Winchester was home to the Bluegrass Cardinal Classic as more than 50 girls’ basketball teams from in- and out-of-state competed. 

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“It’s a chance for high school players to play with their high school teams in front of college coaches,” said GRC Lady Cards head coach Robbie Graham. “It’s kind of like an AAU for high school teams.” 

AAU, short for Amateur Athletic Union, is an amateur sports organization competing in multiple tournaments that school athletes often participate in during the offseason. 

More than 100 games were played on both Thursday and Friday, with 56 teams competing. 

Along with GRC, among the in-state competitors were prominent Kentucky girls’ high school basketball teams such as Bowling Green, Campbell County, Cooper, Franklin County, Frederick Douglass, Henderson County, Mercy, Montgomery County, North Laurel, Owensboro Catholic, Pikeville, Ryle, Simon Kenton, Taylor County, Walton-Verona and more. 

Out-of state opponents included Clarksville Christian (TN), Princeton (OH), Spring Valley (WV), and more. 

The event was put on as a scholastic event in collaboration with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, including Commissioner Julian Tackett, and Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Executive Director Scott Chalk. 

In attendance were several college coaches – including University of Louisville head coach Jeff Walz – as well as staff from the University of Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands, Union Commonwealth University, and more. 

Those who couldn’t attend were able to watch the games live on BallerTV. 

The Lady Cards took on four separate opponents over the two days: Clarksville Christian, Spring Valley, Owensboro Catholic and Simon Kenton. 

With the start of the regular season still a full five months away, Graham noted that he was hoping to see camaraderie. 

“[We] want to kind of get to know each other,” he said. “We’re just [playing] hard…it’s good to get a chance to play.” 

On Saturday, a showcase at GRC Arena also allowed individual athletes to excel. 

“We’ve got eighty kids, eight teams of ten. They [just] play a lot of basketball,” Graham added.

Recognizing the community’s contribution, Graham noted that there were many to thank. 

“We have a lot of people behind the scenes that have done a lot of legwork to help prepare this,”  he said. “It’s a huge undertaking…I’m very appreciative of everyone that’s had a hand in helping us.”