WINCHESTER — Scott County boys' basketball coach Billy Hicks might have had a good time if he had gone ice fishing Sunday.
Instead, he had a fabulous time leading his top-rated Cardinals to a 67-64 victory over No. 3 Clark County in a game that was postponed Saturday because of snow.
"What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon," Hicks said. "This was a regional championship atmosphere.
"It was a win-win situation for both teams. This kind of game has to make you better."
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Clark County Coach Scott Humphrey agreed, even though his Cardinals lost for the first time in 2010.
"Obviously, we don't like to lose, but we've got to look at the bigger picture, not just whether we won or lost today," he said. "We learned so much from this game."
A rowdy crowd of more than 2,000 watched two of the state's top teams play a bruising 32 minutes of basketball.
"Definitely the most physical game we've played all year," said Scott County senior Chad Jackson, who had 27 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Jackson provided the exclamation point on the victory — a rim-rattling dunk as time expired, right in front of Clark County's student section.
"They were talking trash on the sideline, so it felt good to flush that one down," he said with a smile.
Scott County's defense in the closing two minutes was the difference.
Leading 62-61, Clark County threw the ball away on consecutive possessions, with Scott County's Dakotah Euton picking off both passes.
The visitors converted the turnovers into Ge-Lawn Guyn's driving layup, and Euton's two free throws, to take a 65-62 lead.
After Clark County's Corey Rogers muscled in a layup to get within one, Guyn missed the front end of the bonus with 23 seconds left.
But Clark County couldn't take advantage. Robbie Stenzel lost the ball out of bounds along the baseline.
Scott County then avoided letting Clark County foul anybody in the last 13 seconds, and got the ball to Jackson, who threw down his game-ending dunk.
"Those two or three defensive stops at the end won it for us," Hicks said.
"We had a terrible offensive game because of Clark County's defense. We match up well with each other. We've both got some size, some quickness and some shooters. That makes for a great game."
Euton, a 6-8 senior, held his own inside against Clark County's 6-8 Vinny Zollo and 6-5 Rogers. Euton finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and three steals.
Manning, a sophomore point guard, had 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals to help his team win its eighth game in a row.
Clark County had trouble finding the basket all afternoon. "Our shot selection in the first half was mind-boggling," Humphrey said. "Scott County sped us up to a level we're not accustomed to."
Stenzel, a 6-4 junior, led Clark County with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Rogers had 15 points and eight rebounds. Zollo had 13 points, but was just 2-for-14 from the field. He did hit nine of 10 free throws.
Clark County's schedule doesn't ease up. It plays host to No. 11 Lafayette on Tuesday, visits 10th Region rival Mason County on Friday, and travels to No. 14 Lafayette next week.
Scott Co. 67, Clark Co. 64
SCOTT CO. (15-5) — Jackson 27, Euton 15, Guyn 8, Flannery 6 Manning 11, Shotwell 0.
CLARK CO. (16-5) — Stenzel 21, Zollo 13, Rogers 15, Daniel 8, Kindred 2, Purvis 5.
Scott Co. 18 18 13 19—67
Clark Co. 13 18 18 15—64