WINCHESTER — Clark County boys' basketball coach Scott Humphrey is brutally honest in evaluating his team, which has come up short in its quest for a 10th Region title the last couple of years.
Nobody questions the Cardinals' talent, experience or effort, but Humphrey said they still must prove themselves in big games.
Saturday night, they did.
Led by Corey Rogers' 29 points, No. 7 Clark County ripped No. 4 Scott County 79-62 in a near-full Letcher Norton Gym.
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"It's time for us to put up or shut up," Humphrey said. "We've been around forever. It's time for us to win."
Clark County did that in emphatic fashion in ending Scott County's 12-game winning streak.
The host Cards led wire to wire, jumping ahead 8-0 and 21-9 on their way to a 44-25 halftime advantage.
Scott County rallied in the third quarter when its pressure defense forced Clark County into nine turnovers. The visitors used a 14-0 run to cut the deficit to 54-48.
Clark County blunted the comeback, though, thanks to a three-point play by Rogers, then pulled away again in the fourth quarter.
"I was happy with the way we handled that punch they threw at us in the third quarter, how we responded," Humphrey said.
He was even happier about how his team exploited its size advantage, which included the 6-foot-4 Rogers and 6-8 Vinny Zollo. Senior guards Robbie Stenzel and Jaylen Daniel, both 6-4, also did a great job getting to the rim.
The winners hit 31 of 54 shots (57 percent).
"We were very good being stubborn making sure we stayed with the game plan and kept grinding and pounding it inside," Humphrey said.
Rogers had seven rebounds to go with his 29 points. Daniel had 19 points, Stenzel had 14 points and five rebounds, and Zollo had 10 points and 17 rebounds.
"This is a big win, especially if you knew what kind of practice we had (Friday)," Rogers said with a laugh. "Coach ran the life out of me.
"He always writes 'finish' on the board real big with a question mark. I think we answered the question tonight."
Scott County Coach Billy Hicks thought Clark County was the aggressor from the get-go.
"They came out and got after us, and got us back on our heels," he said. "I don't think we were ready for this environment, this atmosphere, this toughness.
"Hopefully, we'll learn from this."
Junior standouts Tamron Manning and Isaiah Ivey led Scott County with 19 points apiece.
The visitors struggled to find the basket against Clark County's long, tall defenders. They shot 38.5 percent.
"Against Clark you can't come down and get shots any time you want," Hicks said. "You've gotta work for them."
Scott County played catchup all night, trailing by double digits most of the time.
"You can't keep playing from 10 or 12 down," Hicks said. "It makes it too hard to keep coming back."
Clark County avenged losses to Scott County the last two years. The teams could meet again later this month in the Toyota Classic in Georgetown.
SCOTT COUNTY (12-2) — Manning 7-18 5-7 19, Ivey 9-16 0-0 19, Relford 1-5 1-8 3, Richardson 3-9 0-0 7, Shotwell 4-14 2-3 10, Harris 1-3 2-3 4. Totals 25-65 10-21 62.
CLARK COUNTY (11-4) — Rogers 12-20 5-6 29, Daniel 7-11 5-7 19, R. Stenzel 6-7 2-5 14, B. Stenzel 2-2 0-0 4, Zollo 3-12 3-3 10, Purvis 0-1 1-1 1, Moore 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 31-54 16-22 79.
Scott County 11 14 23 14—62
Clark County 21 23 13 22—79