RICHMOND — Bryan Station was missing a key starter, but the No. 19 Defenders didn't miss a beat in rolling past No. 13 Lafayette 65-48 in the boys' 11th Region semifinals Monday night in Eastern Kentucky University's McBrayer Arena.
Bryan Station, under first-year coach Tommy Johnson, earned a spot in the region finals for the first time since 2008, and has a shot at its first region title in 25 years.
"This is the first time for me, so I'm excited," Johnson said. "But more than anything I'm excited for our kids, especially our seniors. Since I first took the job in June, they've been determined to get here. I've worked them hard, run them to death and demanded a lot out of them, but now it's paying off for them."
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The Defenders were without 6-foot-5 junior DeAndre Dishman (academics), and that figured to be a factor considering Lafayette had 6-6 Ross Jenkins on the blocks.
But Bryan Station wasn't fazed.
"It's kind of like one player goes down, the next one steps up," said senior Tequan Claitt, who stepped up with 18 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two assists.
"That's what he's done the whole season, so that's what we expect," Johnson said of Claitt. "Tonight was really nothing different."
Tim Dunn came off the bench and got 15 points. Andre Davis had 12.
Bryan Station's biggest lift may have come from Chase Caldwell, a 6-8 stringbean senior who usually sees limited minutes as a backup. He had 10 points and eight rebounds while helping offset Jenkins' 15 points and 13 rebounds.
"I'm not much of a basketball player. I focus on baseball," Caldwell said. "But this was fun. I had to fill a big role tonight."
Johnson liked what he saw: "Chase played huge. The thing I worried about was Ross's physicality because Chase is a little thin. But he matched Ross's physicality."
Bryan Station led 30-19 at halftime, and 44-27 midway through the third quarter.
Lafayette rallied to within 44-35 and had a shot to get even closer. But it missed, and Bryan Station closed the half on a 6-0 run, including a fast-break slam by Claitt.
The Generals never could get into an offensive rhythm.
"What hurt us most was the pressure they put on our guards. They took Ross away by doing that," Coach Mike Mendenhall III said.
T.J. Downey had 12 points, and Lucky Jackson added eight points and seven rebounds for the Generals, who swept Bryan Station during the regular season.
Johnson agreed with Mendenhall that 'D' was the difference. "We were so disciplined on the defensive end, following the scouting report and paying attention to detail."
Mendenhall also thought tough luck played a part.
"Shots don't fall sometimes," he said, noting the Generals missed 14 of 15 three-pointers and 11 of 18 free throws. "You can't beat anybody shooting like that."
Bryan Station 65, Lafayette 48
Bryan Station (22-7) — Claitt 18, Caldwell 10, Davis 12, Walker 3, Owsley 4, Dunn 15, Bruton 2, Gibson 1.
Lafayette (21-12) — Jackson 8, R.Jenkins 15, J.Jenkins 2, Carpenter 2, Lane 6, Downey 12, Watkins 3.
Bryan Station 20 10 20 15—65
Lafayette 10 9 16 13—48