GEORGETOWN — Some coaches are willing to do just about anything to get their teams to play defense.
Scott County's Billy Hicks fits that description.
"Beg, plead, I've done everything," Hicks said. "I've been on these kids harder than I've ever coached about defense. Tonight we really came out and played tough defense."
It was that defense and balanced scoring that helped the top-ranked Cardinals win the 42nd District championship game over Henry Clay 66-49 on Friday night. It was their second straight title.
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Both teams move on to the 11th Region Tournament next week at Eastern Kentucky University.
Henry Clay hung with Scott County for most of the game, but the Cardinals were able to get some separation late thanks to defense.
Trae Stewart capped a 6-2 run with his fast-break layup that got the Devils within six points 52-46. Then Scott County used a 14-3 spree to close out the game and earn its fourth win in a row.
In the pivotal fourth quarter, the Cardinals forced six turnovers and held the Devils to 3-for-8 shooting.
"I'm proud of our defense," Hicks said. "That was one of our best, most complete defensive games all year. Defensively for 32 minutes, we played hard."
Chad Jackson, who led four Cardinals (24-6) in double figures with 18 points, thought the team's hard work on defense all season showed Friday night.
"Our defense makes offense," said Jackson, who also had a game-high six steals. "When we're playing defense, it makes our offense a whole lot easier."
Ge-lawn Guyn added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. Dakotah Euton had 14 points and a game-best 12 boards. Austin Flannery pitched in 12 points for the Cardinals, who hit 46.3 percent from the field and also scored 25 points off 21 Devils miscues.
Scott County dominated on the glass, getting 30 rebounds to just 19 for Henry Clay (15-16).
"If you want to win a championship, you've got to turn it up defensively, which is what we're trying to do," Jackson said.
Henry Clay, which was paced by Marquel Johnson's 15 points and Daniel Kiesling's 10 points and seven rebounds, had its three-game win streak snapped.
But Coach Daniel Brown is just happy the Devils are moving on.
"We were beat by a good team, but I'm proud of my boys and I'm hoping we get a fourth shot at them," Brown said, alluding to a potential rematch with Scott County in the region tournament next week.
HENRY CLAY (15-16) — Stewart 4-8 0-0 8, Prewitt 0-2 2-2 2, Nichols 2-6 2-2 7, M. Johnson 5-11 0-0 15, Kiesling 3-6 4-6 10, Kimball 3-4 0-0 7, Patton 0-2 0-0 0, T. Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-40 8-10 49.
scott co. (24-6) — Euton 5-16 2-2 14, Jackson 7-9 4-6 18, Flannery 5-10 1-1 12, Guyn 6-14 5-5 17, Manning 1-3 0-0 2, Shotwell 1-1 0-0 3, Ivey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-54 12-14 66.
Henry Clay 11 9 19 10—49
Scott Co. 12 17 17 20—66