GEORGETOWN — The stakes were clear, if not simple, Tuesday night.
Scott County stuck a stake in Bryan Station's high school basketball season, eliminating the Defenders 65-54 in the boys' 42nd District Tournament semifinals.
"We knew coming in that it was going to be win or go home, and we know how good they are. They beat us before, and we beat them one time," said Quin Richardson, who led Scott County with 23 points. "Bryan Station's a great team. ... They could have beat a lot of teams tonight."
The 15th-rated Cardinals (22-7) will face Henry Clay for the district title Thursday at 8 p.m. Both finalists go on to the 11th Region tourney.
"(Bryan Station) played well. But we did, too," Scott County Coach Billy Hicks said. "I thought we didn't turn the ball over. We handled the pressure really good, and I thought that was a really big key."
Each team finished with seven turnovers. Richardson, the point guard, had four assists and only two errors, playing the entire 32 minutes.
"When they press like that, I'm just looking for the open man," Richardson said. "I feel like our team really stepped up in the second half. Everyone was coming to the ball, so it made it easier on me to break the press. It wasn't all just me; it was my team mostly."
Trent Gilbert added 20 points and seven rebounds for the winners, playing on their home floor. Jalen Haddix had nine points and six rebounds.
Daquice Allen scored 14 points for Bryan Station (18-11), which split a pair of regular-season matchups with the Cards. Marcellous Washington added 13, Jordan Henry 11. Tyler Smith had eight points and seven rebounds.
"I thought the difference was trying to contain Richardson and Gilbert, with their penetration," Defenders Coach Michael Allen said. "Their penetration hurt us tonight. But we had a shot. I was proud how my kids kept fighting. But give Scott County credit. They made the plays when they needed to make the plays."
Bryan Station led early, 12-10, when Washington drilled a three-pointer.
Gilbert answered with a three of his own, and the Cardinals led the rest of the way.
They led 15-12 after one quarter, 28-20 at halftime and 39-35 through three quarters.
Daquice Allen scored a fast-break bucket to open the fourth quarter and make it a two-point game.
But Richardson sank two free throws and Gilbert scored on a fast break to keep the Cardinals on top.
"Every time, we just couldn't get over the hump," Michael Allen said. "When we tried to get over the hump, they would make the play that they needed to make."
Richardson, a senior who has committed to play in college at Campbellsville, went 11-for-11 at the foul line in the fourth quarter and was 14-for-15 overall. He made one of the Cards' three three-pointers. Gilbert, a junior, had the other two.
"We won and we go on, but also I feel for (Bryan Station) because they were such a tough, good basketball team that I hate see a team like that go out this early in the tournament," Hicks said. "I'm glad it wasn't us but, also, my heart still goes out to Bryan Station because, I'll tell you what guys, they played our tail off tonight. They really did."
SCOTT CO. 65, BRYAN STATION 54
SCOTT CO. (22-7) — Haddix 9, Portwood 7, Doss 4, Richardson 23, Gilbert 20, Martini 2. Totals 21-46 20-24 65.
BRYAN STATION (18-11) — Smith 8, Allen 14, Henry 11, Washington 13, Morton 6, Barnes 2. Totals 17-49 16-21 54.
Scott County 15 13 11 26—65
Bryan Station 12 8 15 19—54