RICHMOND — Scott County put a hammerlock on the boys' 11th Region championship Tuesday night in such a style that it stamped itself as a team to be feared in the Sweet Sixteen next week.
The top-rated Cardinals, playing with a level of urgency and intensity to match their talent, ripped Lafayette 76-50 in the region finals in McBrayer Arena.
"They played like the No. 1 team in the state," Generals Coach Greg Coldiron said. "They played great."
Scott County put this one away early. It rolled to a 23-6 lead and didn't let up until late in the fourth quarter.
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"Gosh, we were really motivated," Cardinals Coach Billy Hicks said. "Sometimes you can be too fired up, but this is a veteran team, and it carried its motivation over to the game and played super, especially on defense."
Senior leader Chad Jackson and his teammates spent part of Tuesday at school watching clips of last year's 68-67 loss to Lexington Catholic in the region finals.
"We didn't want to go out like that again," he said. "We came out tonight and played like this was our last game."
Scott County, which improved to 27-6 with its 20th victory in its last 21 games, will play 13th Region champ Corbin in the first round of the PNC/KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen on March 17 in Rupp Arena.
"It's great to be going back to the state tournament," said Hicks, whose Cards are seeking a third title to go with their 1998 and 2007 championships.
Lafayette, which was considered a long shot to even reach the region when the season began, made a spirited run to the finals before running into a buzzsaw.
After the Generals took a quick 4-0 lead, Scott County's defense went to work. Over the next nine minutes, it forced Lafayette into nine turnovers and blocked three shots with a fierce aggressiveness.
The Cards' offense, meanwhile, was on fire. Ge-Lawn Guyn, Austin Flannery and Dakotah Euton hit consecutive three-pointers to fuel the onslaught that ended with Scott County on top 23-6.
"All the teams in Lexington were calling us soft, so we came out and showed them what kind of heart we've got," said Guyn, a 6-2 senior who had 18 points, four blocked shots and three assists.
Euton, a 6-foot-8 senior, had 16 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Tamron Manning had 11 points, six rebounds and six steals. Jackson added 10 points and eight rebounds.
"When they hit us with that early run, it got us completely on our heels," Coldiron said. "Our kids didn't attack the basket or guard anybody from that point on."
The steadiest player for Lafayette was 6-7 eighth-grader Jackson Davis, who had 16 points and six rebounds.
Seniors Mike Walker and Domonique Hagans combined for 21 points.
The Generals had 23 turnovers that Scott County converted into 29 points, just about the Cards' margin of victory.
"At the beginning of the year, we weren't playing defense like this," Jackson said. "It took us the whole year to get it right, and now we're peaking at the right time."
LAFAYETTE (22-7) — Walker 3-12 3-6 11, Davis 8-12 0-0 16, Yarbrough 0-6 1-2 1, Burton 3-11 0-0 9, Napier 0-0 0-0 0, Hagans 4-7 2-2 10, Chester 1-1 0-0 3, Wilkerson 0-2 0-0 0, Trisko 0-1 0-0 0, Shaw 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-53 6-10 50.
SCOTT COUNTY (27-6) — Jackson 4-10 2-5 10, Euton 5-12 5-5 16, Guyn 7-12 3-5 18, Flannery 3-8 0-0 8, Manning 4-8 3-4 11, Shotwell 4-6 0-1 9, Schu 1-1 0-0 2, Richardson 1-1 0-0 2, Ivey 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-60 13-20 76.
Lafayette 6 15 9 20—50
Scott County 21 18 14 23—76
All-tournament: Ge-Lawn Guyn (MVP), Chad Jackson, Dakotah Euton, Tanner Shotwell of Scott County; Domonique Hagans, Mike Walker, Jackson Davis of Lafayette; Ryan Fucci, Marcellus Barksdale of Tates Creek; Daniel Kiesling, Wes Kimball of Henry Clay, Dominique Hawkins of Madison Central; Vance Hall of Franklin County; Dominique Johnson of Woodford County; Carrington Roberts of Madison Southern.