Great Crossing girls' basketball was the last team in the county to lace up its sneakers and play a game to launch this delayed season.
Lo and behold, the Lady Warhawks flipped that script Friday night and became the first to pick up a win, 89-82 at home in a high-octane verdict over Rowan County.
Timothi Williams led five double-figure scorers for GC with 26 points to go along with seven rebound and six assists.
Senior point guard Braylee McMath added 25 points, six assists and four rebounds. She is now only 23 points away from 1,000 in her high school career, which began with a handful of minutes as an eight-grader at Scott County.
Williams and McMath each sank five 3-pointers and combined to go 9-for-10 from the free throw line, Great Crossing shot 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) and 19-for-24 (79.4 percent) as a team in those productive categories.
Rachel Smith (13), Ava Schureman (12) and Raegan Barrett (10) added to the scoring onslaught for GC, which never trailed and accelerated to its largest lead of the night at 24-7 six minutes into the contest.
Rowan County (0-2) held its ground on the shoulders of Haven Ford, who erupted for a game-high 37 points. Ford was successful on all 14 of her attempts from the free-throw line and also rained down five 3-pointers. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Katie Chandler added 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting for the Vikings. Hailey Rose registered 15 points.
GC's lead shrank to 26-16 after one period, and Rowan County further closed the gap to 39-34 at the half.
A flurry of late free throws from Schureman put the lead in double digits down the stretch.
GC jumps back into action at 2:30 p.m. Saturday with a home date against Bryan Station.
Boys: Henry Clay 69, Scott County 57
None of the numbers right now are what Scott County boys' basketball is accustomed to seeing.
Being out-rebounded and missing half their free throws simply aren't Cardinal traits. Neither is losing back-to-back games to open the season, but that's the reality after a 69-57 defeat Friday night against Henry Clay to open the 42nd District schedule at Al Prewitt Gymnasium in Lexington.
SC hasn't been 0-2 since at least before the Cardinals' first state championship season of 1997-98. The KHSAA archive on its website only goes back to that year.
Two tough region opponents on the road in a schedule revised due to the pandemic certainly have played a role in the sputtering start.
After SC took its final lead of the night, 25-24, with 4:38 remaining in the second quarter on a Jeremy Hamilton free throw, Henry Clay (1-2, 1-0) went on a 33-12 tear until the end of the third period.
In perhaps the most telling statistic of the night, the Blue Devils owned a 41-25 advantage on the glass. They grabbed more offensive rebounds (16) than the Cardinals secured (13) on the defensive end.
And while the Cards cut a 22-point deficit back to a dozen at the finish, a 7-for-14 showing from the line caused that comeback to fizzle. Henry Clay also alleviated the run by breaking Scott County's press for three timely buckets in the fourth quarter.
Aziel Blackwell fought through an ankle injury for 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead Henry Clay, which has won four of its last five games against Scott County. Darik Holman added 11 points and six boards, while Kanye Henderson combined eight points with 10 rebounds.
Elias Richardson and Isaiah Haynes each scored 16 points to pace the Cardinals. Chase Grigsby chipped in 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
SC forced 17 turnovers, but Henry Clay compensated with 52 percent shooting.
Two early 3-pointers from Blackwell set the tone as Henry Clay surged to an 8-0 lead. Scott County battled back, fueled by three Grigsby baskets in a 9-0 run that put the Cards on top, 17-15.
Richardson beat the horn with a 3-pointer to make it 20-17 SC going into the second stanza, but a pair of put-backs from Holman and a three by Mason Hawkins resuscitated the Henry Clay offense.
After Haynes' 3-pointer later ended a 9-0 Devils' run, Blackwell matched it and sent his team to the halftime huddle with a 37-28 cushion.
Henderson hit a trifecta to signal more of the same at the start of the third quarter.
SC hopes to get into the win column Saturday night at Mason County before Monday's first “Battle of the Birds” this winter at Great Crossing.
Girls Franklin County 77, Scott County 52
Scott County's three-game, season-opening grind against potential girls' Sweet 16 contenders ended Friday night with a 77-52 loss at Franklin County.
It was billed as a rematch of last year's 11th Region final, but it's the Flyers (3-0) who return most of the key talent from their title-winning outfit, while the Cards (0-3) are juggling numerous new faces and roles.
University of Tennessee signee Brooklynn Miles fueled Franklin County with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals. Nevaeh Carter added 15 points, eight rebounds and three thefts, while Patience Laster coupled 10 points with seven boards.
The Flyers soared to leads of 24-12 after eight minutes and 51-22 at the half, capped by Miles' 3-point play at the buzzer.
SC kept fighting and enjoyed modest advantages in the third and fourth periods behind the shooting of junior Emma Price, who led all scorers with 23 points. Kenady Tompkins posted her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Maleiyah Moore dished out five assists, while Kaylie Wise matched Tompkins' total of 10 on the glass.
In addition to its 26 turnovers, SC was undone by 3-for-22 struggles from 3-point range. Franklin County also cost itself a chance to stretch the winning margin by going only 11-of-28 at the free-throw line.
Scott County lost to Paul Laurence Dunbar and George Rogers Clark on consecutive nights before having one day off to prepare for Franklin County.
Life gets more manageable on paper with home games against Madison Central on Monday and Bryan Station on Tuesday.