Maybe it was the good vibes generated by the presence of Bryan Station great Jack Givens, who had his jersey retired in a pre-game ceremony.
Maybe it was the Defenders wanting to avenge a 78-55 loss to Henry Clay earlier this season.
Maybe it was a simply a case of Bryan Station finally learning how to finish off a close game.
Whatever it was, the Defenders knocked off the No. 12 Blue Devils 55-49 in a district boys' high school basketball game Tuesday night.
Daquice Allen, a 6-foot senior guard who led the winners with 12 points, said it was all of the above.
"We had to impress (Jack Givens)," Allen said. "We played better defense, didn't let anything go, didn't let things get caught up in our head, and just kept playing hard.
"I think we got over the hump tonight."
Bryan Station Coach Mike Allen wasn't ready to declare it a season-changing victory, but he was happy with what he saw from his team.
"The kids showed a lot of poise and character by finishing out the game," he said.
"We got over the hump in terms of winning a close city game, but there's still a lot of basketball to be played, and we've still got to get better."
Bryan Station was ahead most of the game. Neither team led by more than six points until the Defenders opened a 46-39 gap midway through the fourth quarter.
Henry Clay star Jordan Green tried to rally his team, and they cut the deficit to 53-49 with 1:10 left. But the comeback ended there.
Allen was the only Defender in double figures, but Jordan Henry, Tequan Claitt and Marcellous Washington had seven points each. C.J. Walker, Josh Owsley and Isaiah Barnes had six apiece.
Claitt and Barnes grabbed 15 rebounds between them and helped Bryan Station beat the taller Devils 32-23 on the boards.
Green got off to a slow start — he didn't score for the first nine minutes — but he wound up with 23 points and six rebounds.
The Defenders made him work for what he got. "We don't have anybody to match up with Green, but I thought our zone coverage was pretty good," Coach Allen said.
"We did a better job communicating, and when we're doing that, everybody gets on the same page."
Jeremiah Tisdale had eight points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Henry Clay.
Devils Coach Daniel Brown said he thought "Bryan Station wanted it a little more than we did. They beat us on the backboards, and until we learn to make free throws . . ."
In a loss to Scott County last week, Henry Clay missed 19 foul shots (27 of 46). Against Bryan Station, the Devils were 0-for-6 from the line in the first half, and were 7-for-15 for the game.
"It's been our Achilles heel all year, maybe a carry-over from last season," Brown said.
HENRY CLAY (9-8)— Green 23, J.Tisdale 8, Setzer 3, Barnes 7, I.Tisdale 3, Houston 2, Campbell 3.
BRYAN STATION (9-6) — Allen 12, Henry 7, Walker 6, Claitt 7, Washington 7, Owsley 6, Bradford 4, Barnes 6.
Henry Clay 7 12 18 12 -- 49
Bryan Station 9 14 19 13 -- 55
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.