Every shot, every free throw, every defensive possession mean a little something extra to Kristen Stainback.
The Scott County senior knows that her high school career is winding down, and it's given her a new sense of urgency.
"Just a couple of days ago, We were like 'Wow, this is it,' " she said of herself and fellow seniors Alex McKenzie and Shauntae Jackson. "We're starting to realize it more, and it's starting to sink in. It makes us realize, if we want it, we've got to step it up."
The Austin Peay signee did just that, scoring a game-high 30 points in No. 16 Scott County's 75-51 win over host Bryan Station in the 42nd District Tournament championship game on Friday night.
Both teams advance to the 11th Region Tournament at Eastern Kentucky University next week. Scott County, which won its third straight district title, also is the defending region champion. The region schedule will be determined Saturday.
Coach Steve Helton is just glad he's advancing there with a player like Stainback, who added six rebounds and three assists in the Cardinals' victory, their fourth straight.
"She does what big-time players do; they step up in big-time games," he said of the guard. "She controlled the tempo of the game and gave us great leadership."
Stainback helped the Cardinals jump to an early lead that they never relinquished.
The game was relatively close early on before Scott County surged ahead with a 16-5 run midway through the first half.
"We had to set the tone early, and I'm really proud of the team for coming together and working hard early in the game," the senior said.
Stainback, who had 16 points at intermission, gave the Cardinals their largest lead of the first half, 34-15, with two free throws.
Station woke up in the second half and used a 10-2 run to get within 11 points on a Marrisa Prince three-pointer. Stainback answered on the other end with a 15-footer to keep the lead from falling below double figures.
Station Coach Karra Jackson said she loved her team's effort in the second half, but the game was won and lost in the first half.
"We've got to compete in the first half, not just the second half," she said. "I hope we can take that second half and build on it."
Serena Sandusky led three Defenders in double figures with 14 points and six rebounds.
The Cards' lead ballooned to as many as 26 points in the second half on McKenzie's drive and layup. The senior had 18 points and seven boards for Scott County, which shot 50 percent.
BRYAN STATION (23-6) — Stennis 1-4 0-0 2, Caise 4-11 1-3 9, Prince 1-7 1-2 4, Clark 3-7 0-5 11, Crumbie 5-6 1-2 11, Sandusky 6-15 2-6 14, McCoy 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 20-53 10-23 51.
scott co. (17-10) — Stainback 9-18 11-13 30, Christopher 1-3 4-6 7, Conrad 2-4 0-0 6, McKenzie 7-11 4-5 18, Guyn 2-4 0-0 4, Logsdon 3-8 0-1 6, Huellemeier 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 26-52 19-25 75.
Bryan Station 8 9 25 9—51
Scott Co. 14 22 21 18—75