Second quarter charge propels Cards to the Final Four
Friday night’s Elite Eight matchup between George Rogers Clark (29-5) and Lyon County (31-6) was hyped by some as a game featuring two premier basketball players in the Cards’ Jerone Morton and the Lyons’ Travis Perry.
While Morton’s 11 points made him one of five Cardinal players to reach double figures, the game saw other GRC players break out as well.
The Cards used an explosive second-quarter offense and a defensive stand in the fourth quarter to overcome an early deficit in the final period en route to a 60-56 victory.
With the victory, the Cards move on to the Final Four where they’ll play Frederick Douglass (33-2) on Saturday, March 18th at 1:30 p.m.
“That’s a special game…you saw special players step up at the right moments”, said Head Coach Josh Cook. “We [have] guys that are confident enough and willing to do that…[I’m] super proud of our guys.”
The game started somewhat inauspiciously for the high-powered Cardinal offense.
Shooting only 14% from the field in the opening period, the Cards trailed 13-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Yet Tyleik Maxwell, who finished with ten points, delivered his second three-point shot of the contest early in the second quarter to bring the deficit to four.
“I just focus on my role, but if I’m open for a shot I’m [going to] take it”, he said.
Sparked in part by Maxwell’s eight first-half points, the Cards then outscored the Lyons 24-11 in the second quarter to enter halftime with a 30-24 lead.
Sam Parrish, Jerone Morton, and Reshaun Hampton also connected on three-point shot attempts in the second quarter.
It was a common occurrence throughout the game, as GRC connected on 12 of 24 three-point attempts for 36 of their points.
“I felt like that stretch in the second quarter was the difference”, said Lyon County Head Coach Ryan Perry. “They went on a run where they made five three-pointers in a row…it kind of flipped the momentum and flipped everything going into halftime.”
While the Lyons were down, they weren’t necessarily out.
Led by 19 points from Travis Perry, they battled back into the game and grabbed a 1-pt., 51-50 lead with 6:47 remaining.
However, the Cards scored eight unanswered points over the next four-and-a-half minutes to grab a 58-51 lead.
Though the Lyons would narrow the deficit to two points on a basket and a three-point connection from Perry with only 11 seconds remaining, Sam Parrish then made two free throws to give the Cards an insurmountable four-point lead.
Parrish finished with a team-high 15 points.
During the Cards’ 8-0 run, they utilized a zone defense to help stifle the Lyons’ high-powered offensive attack.
“We had an option there…we wanted to do something to kind of throw them off track”, Cook said. “Our guys are really good at it because they fly around the basketball.”
Offensively, Reshaun Hampton finished with 12 points on four three-point baskets.
“It’s very satisfying. This year, I just feel good”, said Hampton.
Trent Edwards – who finished 12 points – ended with a 100% field goal percentage.
The Cards’ next matchup will be a rematch of their February 7th outing against Frederick Douglass, which ended with a 63-52 defeat.
“It can’t be about being tired. We can be tired [on] Sunday”, Cook said.