Scott County's goal all season was to be on the Rupp Arena court on Sweet Sixteen Saturday and get their picture taken with a big trophy.
The Cardinals didn't want it to be Saturday morning, and they didn't want it to be a consolation trophy.
But that's how it turned out after Ballard beat Scott County 67-62 in the semifinals of the PNC/Sweet Sixteen Saturday morning.
"It's a real big disappointment," Cards' senior Dakotah Euton said. "You dream your whole life of winning a state championship, and when you lose in the final four your senior year, it really hurts.
"But we gave it all we had, and that's all you can do."
Ballard made plays and shots down the stretch, and short-handed Scott County did not.
The Bruins got clutch performances from Ian Chiles (20 points, six rebounds), Turell Means (17 points) and Keisten Jones (17).
Ballard also feasted at the foul line, where it cashed 23 of 30 attempts.
The Bruins took the lead for good when Chiles hit a three-pointer from the left wing to put them up 62-61 with 3:10 left. After Ge-Lawn Guyn's put-back got Scott County to within 62-61, the Cards went cold.
Ballard, meanwhile, kept hitting free throws to earn its first trip to the finals since it fell to Scott County in 2007.
As was the case in Friday's quarterfinals, Scott County had all kinds of foul problems. The Cards were able to overcome having four players foul out against Christian County, they couldn't do the same when Chad Jackson, Austin Flannery and Tanner Shotwell fouled out against Ballard.
The losses of Jackson and Flannery were especially costly.
Jackson was the glue that kept Scott County together throughout the season.
He went to the bench with 6:29 left.