MOUNT STERLING — Montgomery County completed a regular-season sweep of George Rogers Clark High School Friday night at the MCHS Arena.
The Indians used a 31-point outing from standout Omar Prewitt to record a 78-56 victory over the Cardinals. Montgomery defeated Clark 81-55 on Dec. 14 at Norton Gym.
Clark coach Scott Humphrey said the Cardinals were outmatched, but held their own against one of the favorites to win the 10th Region this season.
“Tonight was a learning session,” he said. “I wanted to see our kids play without fear and I thought we did that, I thought we competed. When things went bad, I wanted to see (the players) stay together and I think they did that.”
In the opener, Montgomery County rallied from a 24-point, first-half deficit for a 62-58 triumph over the Lady Cardinals to complete a regular-season sweep. The Lady Indians edged Clark 58-45 on Dec. 14. Clark coach Robbie Graham wasn't surprised by Montgomery County's comeback.
“They're experienced and they're not going to lay down,” Clark girls basketball coach Robbie Graham said. “They were going to fight back and it was going to be a one possession game. I'm not proud of a loss by any means, but I am proud of our girls for fighting. It's tough, but we'll see them again, hopefully two more times.”
Both Montgomery County teams clinched the top seed for the 40th District Tournament set for next month.
The Lady Cardinals couldn't miss in the opening quarter, connecting on four shots from long range. Clark broke a 5-5 deadlock with a 13-0 run to close out the quarter. Kathleen Murphy connected on two of those treys during the spurt that gave the Lady Cards an 18-5 lead.
Clark continued the trend to open the second quarter, scoring 11 unanswered that pushed the margin to 29-5. Kaytlynn Williams came off the bench and knocked down back-to-back three-points during the spurt.
Clark made seven 3-pointers in the opening half, paced by Murphy, Williams and Lexxus Graham with two each.
“We played a very good first half,” Graham said. “The main thing is we took care of the basketball, shared it and got good, quality shots.”
Montgomery County regrouped and narrowed the margin to 35-23 at the break.
The Lady Indians opened the second half on fire and outscored Clark 19-2, turning the 12-point deficit into a 42-37 advantage with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter. Montgomery County guard Erica Rogers sparked the Lady Indians' successful comeback attempt with nine points during the decisive run, including a nifty four-point play after getting fouled following a 3-pointer.
Clark managed just one field goal in the third frame and trailed 46-43 going into the final quarter. A three-pointer by Paige Taylor tied the score at 46-46, but Montgomery scored six straight, including three consecutive field goals on one possession for a 52-46 advantage.
Graham was pleased with his team's ability to keep it close despite the Lady Indians' rally.
“When they made their run, we kept fighting,” Graham said. “We stayed with it and made it a game throughout.”
Taylor made three of Clark's nine 3-pointers and finished with 11 points. Lexxus Graham paced Clark with 13 points, followed by Kathleen Murphy with 12 and Skinner with 10.
Rogers drained four of her team's five shots from long range and finished with a game-high 18 points.
In the nightcap, Clark raced out to an 8-2 lead, but Montgomery County responded with a 10-2 run and took the lead for good. The Cards tied the score at 12-12, but the Indians pulled away and created spacing between the two district rivals.
Montgomery outscored Clark 22-9 in the second quarter as the Cardinals managed just one field goal in the final eight minutes of the first half. The Indians coasted the remainder of the contest as Clark focused on improvement for the remainder of the contest.
“We have to gauge our progress right now more than the scoreboard,” Humphrey said. “Montgomery played great, they overpowered us at every position, but I felt we had some guys that were pulling for each other. Right now our main focus has to be Clark County and our particular team.”
Prewitt scored 11 of the Indians' 21 points in the opening quarter on his way to a 28-point outing in the first half. Prewitt added six rebounds and five blocked shots in the first two quarters.
“Omar has developed his game and he’s very patient,” Humphrey said.
The William and Mary signee led all scorers with 31 points and sat out most of the fourth quarter. He added 10 rebounds and collected six blocked shots.
Riley Caudill knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first three minutes and led the Cardinals with six points in the first half. Luke Sharrock paced the Cards with a career-high 16 points and scored 12 of those in the second half.
“It was Luke’s best game,” Humphrey said. “Luke is the type of kid you can build around because you’re seeing progress each and every day. Last Friday night I was frustrated with him at Madison Southern. Luke’s not a selfish kid by no means, but he did not play well early in the game at Madison Southern. He let it domino into the next play, the next quarter and he could not get out of his own way. It hurt us and hurt us as a team, but I thought tonight, even when he got his shot blocked and bad things happened, he came right back at it and competed his tail end off. That’s what we’re trying to get the collective group to do. I saw some (players) making progress tonight individually. We’re just about two or three weeks behind schedule as to where I think we should be. I feel like we’ve let some time slide by and we’ll see if we can catch up with it and play our best basketball at the end.”
Clark 18 17 08 15 — 58
Montgomery 05 18 23 16 — 62
CLARK (5-13) — Williams 6, Graham 13, Taylor 11, Irvin 2, Skinner 10, Murphy 12, Hamlin 4.
MONTGOMERY (13-4) — Conyers 4, Colliver 9, Rogers 18, Arnett 4, Lockett 10, Spence 10, Tipton 7.
Clark 16 09 15 16 — 56
Montgomery 21 22 20 15 — 78
CLARK (6-12) — Warner 2, Caudill 9, King 6, M. Israel 7, Greene 5, Cornelius 1, Blanton 4, J. Israel 2, Roberts 4, Sharrock 16.
MONTGOMERY (16-3) — T. Jones 11, Prewitt 31, Hall 5, D. Jones 18, Wallace 11, Walker 2.