The George Rogers Clark boys’ basketball team prepped for the Toyota Classic with a 73-55 win over Harrison County in a make-up game Wednesday night in Cynthiana.
Clark coach Scott Humphrey was pleased with the win, but wasn’t happy with his team’s defensive performance, especially in the second half.
“Defensively, I don’t think we were very good,” Humphrey said. “Our ball pressure to start the game was good, but we gave them too many looks. It was a breakdown from nowhere in handling their handoffs. We’ve seen that (all year) and I have no idea where that was coming from. We give up way too many looks and that was very uncharacteristic (of us).”
Humphrey added that his team was “very unselfish sharing the basketball, getting out in transition and getting some easy baskets” in the opening half, but failed to display the same qualities for the remainder of the contest, especially on defense.
“I think it was a steady decline the rest of the game, especially defensively,” he said. “I’m happy to get the win. … but I’m anxious to see how we play these next three days and how we stand up against what we’re getting ready to go against.”
Clark senior Corey Rogers returned to the lineup and scored 20 points, with most of those coming in the first half. Rogers missed the Cardinals’ two previous games while on an official football recruiting visit to Tennessee-Martin. Rogers, the team’s leading scorer, scored 14 points in the first half.
The Cardinals (14-4) opened the contest with a flurry, scoring the first 13 points, before Harrison County scored its first basket on a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining in the first frame. Clark put the game out of reach with 10-2 run to open the second quarter.
Robbie Stenzel scored six of Clark’s first 13 points and finished with 13. Stenzel scored eight points in the opening half. Stenzel was also instrumental on the glass.
“He’s playing so well right now,” Humphrey said. “The deal of it is that he’s fighting on the defensive end. You can see him busting through screens and taking the challenge of guarding the other team’s best perimeter player and he’s crashing the glass. When he’s attacking the rim in transition, that’s when he’s at his best. He’s playing extremely well and I’m happy to see that, but obviously it makes us a better team.”
Jaylen Daniel had 12 points and Vinny Zollo added 11 to round out four Clark players in double figures.
The Cardinals are scheduled to open play in the Toyota Classic at 7:15 p.m. tonight against Covington Catholic in Georgetown. Clark is guaranteed three games in the eight-team event.
“I really like the Toyota Classic, just for the timing of it,” Humphrey said. “Obviously, you’re going up against great competition, but sometimes in January, you can hit a little lull. I like that tournament for this time of year.”