Lady Cards hopeful balance brings another title

The dangerous thing about George Rogers Clark this season?

They might be even more balanced than the team that cut the nets last season in the 10th Region Tournament. The Lady Cards are battle tested too, having played a schedule that featured playing five of the top 10 teams in the state in the season’s final AP poll.

The Lady Cardinals enter this year’s 10th Region Tournament at 23-7 and champions out of the 40th District. They feature a lineup that has six players that score at least six points per game.

“There’s just not one player you can pinpoint or target or focus on. We have some balance which is good,” Lady Cards coach Robbie Graham said.

Leading that balance is a trio of Kennedy Igo, Hayley Harrison and Shemaya Behanan. Igo and Harrison are deadly 3-point shooters, helping lead the Lady Cards to the second best 3-point shooting percentage in the state at 40.1 percent as a team.

Behanan fills the role of the stat stuffer. She leads the team in rebounds and brings a lot of other intangibles. Jasmine Flowers, Maleaha Bell and Shelbi Wilson all pack a punch offensively as well.

Enough about offense though, the Lady Cards pride themselves on the defensive end. They allow just 40.6 points per game, good for 12th in the state. They want to get up in the opponent’s face with relentless pressure.

“That’s what we do,” Graham said. “We like to get out and pressure and try not to give you easy looks. If they’re going to make some shots, hopefully they’re tough shots. That’s kind of our M.O.”

First up in their title defense will be Nicholas County. A team they defeated once this season already, 76-29 on December 4, also a team they beat in the 10th Region semifinals last year, 71-41. Those results won’t change their outlook as a potential heavyweight matchup looms with Campbell County in the semifinals.

“We’re one game at a time. Our focus is all on Nicholas County. There won’t be any talk about anyone else,” Graham said. “We’ll focus on Nicholas County and if we happen to get by them we’ll focus on the next game. I’ve been around too long where if you look ahead it smacks you in the face. Our main and only focus will be on Nicholas County.”

Stopping the Lady Jackets guards will be key in the contest. Nicholas County coach Greg Letcher is well aware of the problems the Lady Cards present with their ball pressure and what Samantha Sowell and Shelby Stafford will need to do to combat that.

“We know we’ll have to handle their pressure. They’ll have to be able to score and minimize turnovers in order for us to compete,” Letcher said.

Entering the tournament, Graham and the Lady Cards don’t want to think about the past and what they were able to accomplish last season. They’re focused on right now.

“Last year is last year. This is a whole new year and group of kids. The challenge of this year is obviously new. We don’t talk about last year, we talk about this year and moving forward. Winning the 10th Region is really hard. We talk all the time basketball season is now beginning, we’re all 0-0,” Graham said. 

The key to the Lady Cards retaining the title?

“I don’t want to pinpoint one thing. We’ve got to value the ball, we’ve got to limit our turnovers and do a really good job of rebounding the ball and just continue to play good defense,” Graham said.

The Lady Cards and Lady Jackets will kick the tournament off Monday at 6 p.m. The winner moves on to Friday’s semifinal to face the Campbell County-Bracken County winner at 6 p.m.

DATE; OPPONENT; SITE; RESULT

Nov 29; Sacred Heart; away; (L) 75-39

Dec 1; Mason County; away; (W) 62-61  (OT)

Dec 4; Nicholas County; home; (W) 76-29

Dec 8; Campbell County; away; (L) 70-44

Dec 11; Madison Central; home; (W) 70-39

Dec 14; East Jessamine; away; (W) 67-17

Dec 15; Paris; home; (W) 76-35

Dec 21; Paul Laurence Dunbar; at Lexington Catholic; (W) 62-46;  Traditional Bank Holiday Classic

Dec 22; Mercy; at Lexington Catholic; (W) 51-50; Traditional Bank Holiday Classic

Dec 23; Murray; at Lexington Catholic; (L) 65-53; Traditional Bank Holiday Classic

Dec 23; South Warren; at Lexington Catholic; (L) 50-49; Traditional Bank Holiday Classic

Dec 28; North Hardin; at Murray; (W) 67-26; Murray Bank Lady Tiger Classic

Dec 29; Owensboro; at Murray; (W) 76-23; Murray Bank Lady Tiger Classic

Dec 30; Murray; away; (L) 72-61; Murray Bank Lady Tiger Classic

Jan 3; Paris; away; (W) 69-42

Jan 5; Bourbon County; home; (W) 71-22

Jan 19; Henry Clay; away; (W) 62-28

Jan 20; Lincoln County; home; (W) 58-45; Tim Short Automotive Classic

Jan 25; Montgomery County; home; (W) 78-20

Jan 26; DuPont Manual; at Bellarmine; (L) 37-35; Louisville Invitational Tournament

Jan 30; Bourbon County; away; (W) 60-26

Jan 31; Holy Cross (Covington); home; (W) 42-40

Feb 2; Scott; home; (W) 59-48

Feb 3; Miami Trace, OH; at Ironton, OH; (W) 44-27; Ironton Classic

Feb 7; Montgomery County; away; (W) 73-16

Feb 9; Madison Southern; away; (W) 81-43

Feb 13; Frederick Douglass; home; (W) 70-33

Feb 16; Male; home; (L) 70-56

Feb 19; Montgomery County; away; (W) 65-22; 40th District Tournament

Feb 21; Paris; at Montgomery County; (W) 69-41; 40th DistrictChampionship

Feb 26; Nicholas County; at Mason County; 6:00 PM; 10th Region Tournament

NO.; PLAYER; POSITION; HEIGHT; CLASS

2; TRINITY GAY; GUARD; 5-6; 8TH

3; ALIYAH GRAY; GUARD; 5-7; JUNIOR

4; JASMINE FLOWERS; GUARD; 5-9; JUNIOR

5; ERICA BERRY; GUARD; 5-4; FRESHMAN

10; NICOLE DAVIS; GUARD; 5-4; 8TH

11; CAMERON ANDERSON; GUARD; 5-9; 8TH

12; MALEAHA BELL; FORWARD; 5-10; JUNIOR

14; KENNEDY IGO; GUARD; 5-7; SOPHOMORE

20; CHLOE TREECE; FORWARD; 5-10; 8TH

21; SHELBI WILSON; GUARD; 5-7; SOPHOMORE

22; TYRA FLOWERS; FORWARD; 5-10; 8TH

23; SHEMAYA BEHANAN; FORWARD; 5-9; SENIOR

24; MALAYSIA HILL; GUARD; 5-5; SENIOR

25; ASHLEIGH BUNFILL; FORWARD; 5-6; FRESHMAN

32; AMBER MILLER; FORWARD; 5-8; 8TH

44; HAYLEY HARRISON; GUARD; 5-10; JUNIOR

50; KENNEDY MACK; CENTER; 5-10; FRESHMAN

Head Coach: Robbie Graham

Assistants: Steve Anderson, William Brown, Mark Collier, Jennifer Harrison, Willie Henry

Athletic Director: Jamie Keene

POINTS FOR: 1,845

POINTS ALLOWED: 1,218

POINTS PER GAME: 61.5

POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME: 40.6

FIELD GOAL %: 46.9

3-POINT %: 40.1

FREE THROW %: 63.0

REBOUNDS: 604

REBOUNDS PER GAME: 20.8