The George Rogers Clark boys basketball team was all smiles following a 70-47 victory over Paris Tuesday night at Norton Gymnasium.
The Cardinals had plenty of reason to be happy after snapping a five-game losing streak and securing a No. 2 seed in the 40th District Tournament following a regular-season sweep of the Greyhounds. Clark will face Bourbon County, a third-seed in the opening round of the postseason, while top-seeded Montgomery County will play Paris to open district play.
Clark scored 12 of the first 14 points and led from start to finish. Paris used a 9-0 run to pull within 12-11, but the hosts pulled away after outscoring the Greyhounds 17-8 in the second quarter, giving Clark a 31-19 advantage at the half. The Cards then coasted in the second half.
“We got the win,” Clark coach Scott Humphrey said. “We had some guys that stepped up and played well. It was a good night for us. It has been a while since we had won and I’m glad our guys got to enjoy a win. It was good to see the smiles on their faces at the end of the game.”
In Richmond, the George Rogers Clark girls basketball team gave fifth-ranked Madison¿Central all it could handle, coming up short in a 56-44 loss. Clark coach Robbie Graham was pleased with his team’s ability to compete with the Lady Indians, but wants more from his team during the final two three weeks of the regular season.
“It was a good test for us and I feel good, but like I told the girls, we have to get to the point to where we feel good about how we played and it’s time to start getting some wins. We have to take that next step and start beating some of these teams that we can compete with. I feel like we can compete with anybody on our schedule. We need to start squeezing some wins together, especially with it getting late in the season. We’re about to turn the clock into February and into postseason play.”
At Norton Gym, the Cardinals (7-14) got a solid performance from Khamarkis Blanton, who recorded a double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds. It was the first double-figure outing for Blanton since a 62-55 loss at Madison¿Southern on Jan. 4. In Clark’s previous four games, Blanton had combined for 16 points.
“He was active all night long,” Humphrey said. “We have to have him. He has to play well for us to have a chance to compete. He just needs to continue to grind and get better. Coach (Larry) Allison does a wonderful job with our big guys and I think the more he listens to him and follows his lead, the better shot he has of being more consistent, producing night-in and night-out.”
Luke Sharrock followed Blanton with 12 points, followed by Braxton Greene with 10.
The Lady Cardinals forced four lead changes and four ties at Central and led briefly in the second quarter before a pair of three-point plays by standout Larryn Brooks gave the Lady Indians a 31-25 advantage at the break. Central opened the second half with a 12-4 run and pushed the margin to double digits at 43-29. Clark narrowed the deficit to seven three times in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer.
“We kind of have that bugaboo, seems like one quarter always gets us,” Graham said. “They’re a good team and they have a chance to win the 11th Region.”
Graham singled out the six-point spurt by Central to end the first half as a difference in the outcome.
“We missed (two) box-outs and they converted on each one of them,” the Clark coach said. “That was big going into the halftime. In the third quarter, we came out flat and Brooks is a heck of a player. She put them on her back and she carried them for a while. We had a hard time staying in front of her and keeping her from going into the lane and that’s easier said than done with a player of her caliber.”
Sandra Skinner paced Clark with 16 points and scored 13 of those in the opening half. Skinner just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Clark made six shots from long range, with Kaytlynn Williams, Paige Taylor and Lexxus Graham connected on two shots each from beyond the arc.
Brooks led all scorers with 24 points, followed by Bailey O’Bryan with 14.
Paris 11 08 13 15 — 47
Clark 14 17 17 22 — 70
PARIS (3-17) — W. Dumphord 3, J. Dumphord 1, Cunningham 5, Pridemore 8, Garrard 15, Washington 2, Downey 11.
CLARK¿(7-14) — Warner 4, Caudill 4, King 8, M. Israel 2, J. Israel 2, Greene 10, Blanton 26, Sharrock 12, Cornelius 2.
Clark 14 11 07 12 — 44
Central 15 16 14 11 — 56
CLARK¿(7-14) — Williams 6, Graham 6, Taylor 8, Anderson 2, Skinner 16, Murphy 2, Hamlin 4.
CENTRAL¿(17-3) — Brooks 24, Feldhaus 8, Hinkle 5, O’Bryan 14, Bosley 3, Cain 2.