Defense told the tale in Clark County's 56-36 win over Apollo in Wednesday's opening round of the PNC/KHSAA Boys' State Tournament.
"Kind of indicative of how we've played all year — there's times on the offensive end where it just doesn't come very easy for us," winning coach Scott Humphrey said. "But from the time the ball goes up to the three zeroes (on the clock) come up, we're pretty good defensively. We relied on that again tonight."
With a second-session attendance of 15,107 in Rupp Arena, 6-foot-6 senior Adam Fatkin led the Cardinals with 21 points and five rebounds. He also blocked seven shots.
"Adam Fatkin did a great job," said Apollo's 6-6½ , 290-pound Hunter Bivin. "He had a great defensive night. I felt like almost running into a brick wall there trying to back him in. He's a lot stronger than he looks."
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With seven wins in a row, the Cardinals (31-5) will meet top-ranked Trinity in Friday's quarterfinals. The Shamrocks advanced with a 52-32 win over Bullitt East.
"Trinity's a very special, special team," Humphrey said. "They've been the No. 1 team in the state since Oct. 15. ... And they proved tonight that they deserve that.
"Our whole focus is to be No. 1 for about a two-hour gap on Friday."
Clark County also got 15 points, four rebounds and four assists from Taylor Howard. Charlie Rogers had 11 points and four rebounds.
Bopper Stenzel had four points and four assists, running an offense that made only three turnovers.
Sam Sergeant led the Eagles (17-15) with 10 points. Michael Berry had eight points and seven rebounds.
"We expected them to be a very aggressive man-to-man on our offense and they were," said Coach Steve Sergeant, Sam's father. "They did what got them here — they played defense.
"They played it aggressively and they were physical, made it hard for our offense to be initiated on the wing pass. So we had to make some considerations as far as our offense was concerned and by that time we had 12 turnovers at half. They played the way they wanted, and they set the tone on defense, there's no doubt about that."
Clark County never trailed en route to a 26-14 halftime lead, although Apollo was tied at 2.
Fatkin shot 5-for-9 and had 11 first-half points.
"We just wanted to come out and take it like any other game," Fatkin said. "Just play our hardest."
Overall, the Cardinals shot 10-for-22 (45.5 percent) in the half, compared to Apollo's 5-for-14 (35.5).
Clark County also hurt the Eagles with turnovers, with a 12-3 advantage. The Cards had a 12-0 margin in points-off-turnovers.
Apollo was able to stay as close as 12 mostly because of a 17-9 advantage in rebounds, with Berry grabbing five.
Leading 12-8 through one quarter, Clark County scored the last five points of the half to mount its biggest lead, 12 points. Fatkin started that mini-spree with a basket on the low post, and Howard drained a three-pointer with five seconds left.
Clark County led by as many as 16 in the third quarter, and was up 40-27 heading into the fourth period.
The closest Apollo came after that was 48-36 when Sergeant hit a three-pointer with 4:50 left.
Those were the Eagles' last points, and Clark County scored the last eight points.