Cards fly past Breds, 75-52

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By Lee Kendall

The visiting Clark County Cardinals blew open a close game in the third quarter and cruised past the Harrison County Thorobreds on Tuesday night, 75-52.

Harrison County, currently ranked seventh in the 10th Region, jumped on the region’s top-ranked team in the first three minutes of the game, but struggled to stay within striking distance for the rest of the first half.

The Thorobreds led 9-3 in the early going, but needed a Ryan Puckett three-pointer inside the last minute of the first period to trail 15-14 at the quarter break.

In the second period, Clark County led by as many as 10 points and threatened to break the game open, until the Breds went on a 9-3 mini-run late in the period to bring the game to within 33-28 at halftime.

Clark County’s Robert Hatton, held scoreless in the first quarter, exploded for 12 points in the second period to pace the Cardinals.

“We fought back in the second period and showed that we could play with them, but just couldn’t score enough in the third quarter to stay with them,” said HCHS coach Mike Reitz after the game.

Clark County tightened the screws defensively on the Breds in the decisive third period and held Harrison County to only seven points, with four of them coming inside the last minute, as the Cards opened up a 52-35 lead.

“I looked at this game as kind of a measuring stick for us,” said Reitz. “We played the top team in the region and played with them for a half. It’s just January, so we now know where we stand and what we need to do to get better.”

In the fourth quarter, sophomore Vinny Zollo, a 6-foot-8 University of Kentucky early commitment, paced Clark County with seven points. He finished with 19 points to tie Hatton for game-high scoring honors, and finished with 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and four blocked shots.

Senior guard Fonze Custard led Harrison County with 15, Puckett finished with 12 and John Michael Reitz and Eric Case both added nine.

“Clark County has size, quickness, and experience,” said Reitz. “They have a lot of weapons offensively and play a tough man-to-man defense. They are a legitimate contender for the 10th Region title this year.”

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It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Breds. After squaring off with the 10th Region’s top team on Tuesday at home, Harrison County must now go on the road to take on perhaps the top team in the state this weekend.

On Saturday night, Harrison County has the task of traveling north to take on Covington Holmes, currently a top-five team in the state.

“I personally think they are the best team in the state right now,” said Reitz. They are loaded with talented players. They have great athleticism, play great pressure defense, shoot the ball well and are extremely well coached. It will be a great challenge for us, but will only help us get better down the stretch.”

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Last Friday, it took the Breds a few minutes to get warmed up, but when they did, Harrison County blitzed visiting Bracken County, 82-58.

Once again, balanced scoring was the key for Harrison County as they placed six players in double figures in improving their season record to 10-7.

Custard played his best game of the season and led Harrison County with 18. He also chipped in with a season-high nine assists and had 10 rebounds, just missing out on a triple-double.

Jared Martin jump-started the Harrison County offense in the first period with a pair of three-pointers and two free throws. He added two more treys on the night and finished with 14.

Malcolm Thomas came off the bench and had 14, Case finished with 13, Reitz had 11 and Puckett chipped in with 10.