Coach Daniel Brown has a message for those who doubt his Henry Clay basketball team.
Not so fast, my friend.
The 24th rated Blue Devils, who lost three starters from last year's team to transfers, advanced to the finals of the 42nd District tournament Tuesday by taking down visiting Bryan Station 62-52.
"All the distractions in the year, everyone thought Henry Clay was done," Brown said. "(Tuesday's win) tells you the young talent coming. I'm proud of this team, and they've worked hard with a lot of doubters out there. I'm excited for them."
Henry Clay (16-12) split regular-season games against Bryan Station (13-13), winning 78-55 on Dec. 10 and falling 55-49 on Jan. 14.
The Blue Devils will face Scott County in Thursday's finals, at 8 p.m.
Jordan Green and Jeremiah Tisdale formed a potent 1-2 punch Tuesday.
Green, a 6-foot-6 senior, wound up with 27 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks, with only one turnover.
Tisdale, a 6-3 junior, totaled 14 points, 17 boards, two assists and two steals, with only two turnovers.
"I think we rebounded the ball really well. I thought that was they key," Brown said. "Tisdale had 17 rebounds. I thought when Green got going, that helped us — made it easier on us, got us a lead. Our top players played well."
Henry Clay won the rebounding battle 39-32.
Quan Claitt came off the bench to pace Bryan Station with 13 points and 10 rebounds. C.J. Walker hit three three-pointers and finished with 11 points.
"That was a tough loss," said Jaron Brown, filling in as coach while Mike Allen continued a leave of absence for undisclosed reasons.
A tough family loss, as Henry Clay's Green is Jaron Brown's cousin.
"He's a good player," Jaron Brown said. "They played good. We missed a lot of easy baskets, a couple shots we normally hit. Not taking anything away from Henry Clay — they got us tonight. My boys played hard, though."
Bryan Station sank only 17 of 60 shots, 28.3 percent. Henry Clay went 23-for-48, 47.9 percent.
Although the game was close throughout, Henry Clay led nearly all the way.
Green scored all but three of his team's points to help Henry Clay to a 14-9 lead through one quarter.
"I had one of my better games tonight," he said. "My whole team came to play. We all jumped out on them quickly."
The closest Bryan Station came from there was four, the last time at 18-14 on a bucket by Andre Davis. The Devils led 25-18 at halftime.
Tisdale got untracked in the second quarter.
"I wasn't rebounding in the first quarter but Coach Byars (Juan, an assistant) got into me and was telling me to rebound," Tisdale said. "So I got going on the boards. They weren't boxing me out."
Consecutive baskets by Green, Tisdale and Campbell Setzer to start the third quarter pushed Henry Clay's lead to 31-18.
Bryan Station came back with an 8-0 run to make it a five-point game. That's as close as the Defenders would come, though.
Next up for Henry Clay is Scott County.
"We got 'em," Green said. "We're not worried. We're going to be ready to play and we're going to do what we do."
Henry Clay 62, Bryan Station 52
BRYAN STATION (13-13) — Henry 5, Allen 9, Barnes 0, Washington 3, Bradford 0, Walker 11, Claitt 13, Davis 8, Owsley 3. Totals 17-60 12-14 52.
HENRY CLAY (16-12) — Barnes 7, Setzer 5, Wilson 0, J. Tisdale 14, Green 27, I. Tisdale 9. Totals 23-48 14-23 62.
Bryan Station 9 9 15 19—52
Henry Clay 14 11 18 19—62