However, in Tuesday's Class 1 Sectional game at the Dexter Bearcat Event Center, Scott County Central showed a level of quickness that the Tigers couldn't match, resulting in a one-sided, 100-76 victory by the Braves.
Scott Central (18-10) advances to the quarterfinal round where they will play Eminence (23-6) on Saturday afternoon at 2:15 at Three Rivers Community College. Eminence defeated Hurley 61-58 in its sectional game.
The Braves established themselves early in Tuesday's game and never looked back.
"The kids paid attention and they listened, bottom line," Scott Central coach Kenyon Wright said. "They paid attention to our gameplan and they worked their butts off the last four days and had good practices towards this game. They understood that this is it or they're going home."
Taking that "win-or-go-home" attitude and using it as fuel were Scott Central's seniors.
Senior Dominique Porter, a 5-foot-11 guard, was simply dominant, scoring a game-high 43 points with 15 rebounds.
He single-handedly controlled the paint, scoring nearly every basket within a foot of the goal.
Up top, senior point guard LaMarcus Steward blew past Risco's ball pressure and drained pull-up jumpers to the tune of 25 points.
Combining for 68 points, the duo nearly out-scored Risco by themselves.
"They're seniors," Wright said. "If they don't play well then we don't win. Those two stepped up and did it tonight."
While the Braves had little trouble scoring, it was also their full-court press that set the tone early against the Tigers.
Risco (24-4) committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter and found themselves down 22-13 after one quarter of play, at which point it was apparent that the Tigers were no match for the Braves' quickness.
"I thought mentally we were ready, but we didn't look as quick as we normally look," Risco coach Brandon Blankenship said. "That could be just compared to them. We have played a couple quick teams this year and I thought we looked quicker in those games than we did tonight."
Risco cut the lead to 22-15 to start the second quarter, but they never got closer than that the rest of the night. A Jeremey Fowler 3-pointer with 5:23 left in the second quarter cut the lead to 31-23, but the Braves responded with back-to-back baskets to extend the lead to 12.
The Tigers never got within 10 the rest of the night as Scott Central led 46-31 by halftime.
"A slow start, maybe that started to wear on us mentally," Blankenship said. "You dig yourself a hole and against them you can't be in a hole for too long, and it just kind of lasted way too long. I felt like we were kind of getting things offensively, but then we were just trading buckets with them because we weren't stopping them."
Risco's last glimmer of hope came late in the third quarter when, trailing 58-45, the Tigers appeared to have a steal heading out of bounds, but the ball was saved to Scott Central's Jaylen Porter, who scored a driving layup. The Braves then came up with a steal and Dominique Porter scored the basket and the foul.
He hit the free throw, and within a few seconds the lead was back up to 63-45 with 2:32 left in the third.
The Braves put the game away from there, cruising to a 75-52 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Scott Central's lead ballooned to 100-70 late in the fourth to briefly enforce the mercy clock.
Porter scored 25 of his points in the second half. He was 15-of-19 from the free throw line.
"Scott County's good," Blankenship said. "We were way too easy to score on. They pretty much scored at will and Dominique Porter was by far the best player on the floor. Against our press, our halfcourt 1-2-2, it seemed like LaMarcus just dribbled right through the middle of it. We didn't get it done defensively, or on the boards."
The Braves out-rebounded Risco 33-26 in the game and forced 19 turnovers.
Scott Central also got a strong night from senior forward Antonio Johnson, who finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Jaylen Porter added 10 points with five assists. Sophomore Larandis Banks chipped in with nine to round out the Braves' scoring.
Scott Central shot 39-of-71 (55 percent) from the field, scoring the majority of its baskets in the paint. They were 22-of-28 (79 percent) from the free throw line.
Risco shot 30-of-61 (49 percent) from the field overall, but struggled from the perimeter, making just 3-of-18 (17 percent) from 3-point range.
Wright indicated that with the loss of last year's stellar senior class, including star forward Otto Porter, which helped the team win three consecutive state titles, that this year's team is playing with something to prove.
"I think that's probably in their minds," Wright said. "This is just a weird basketball team sometimes. So far, they've come out and they've got themselves in a position to win. If they can do that on Saturday, then maybe we'll have a chance."
As Scott Central moves on, Risco will be turning the page on its own standout senior class that formed the nucleus of three straight district championships.
One of the seniors leading the way on Tuesday was point guard Chris Pavy, who finished with a team-high 21 points with seven assists and six rebounds. Senior Jeremey Fowler scored 12 points and Luke Bixler had eight points.
The trio helped lead the Tigers to a record-breaking season this year with a school-record 24 wins, breaking a mark that was set by the 1958-59 team.
It's also the first time in Risco school history that they have achieved back-to-back 20-win seasons.
However, Blankenship could take little solace in those achievements as he saw his season come to an end for the third straight year at the hands of Scott Central. In addition, knowing that he is losing such a talented group of seniors left him wondering if this was his best chance at reaching the state tournament.
"We didn't talk about it being our last shot, but we talked about it being maybe our best opportunity," Blankenship said. "I don't know if they felt pressured. We had a couple good practices and it seemed like mentally they were ready. But I'm really proud of my seniors. They've really led us the last two or three years. It's a great year, the best in Risco history. Three in a row is nice, but we've been getting to the same point now every year and run into the same team -- and it's a good team, a really good team. You're clawing and scratching and trying to get past that."
RISCO (76) -- Chris Pavy 21, Jordan Pavy 12, Jeremey Fowler 12, Brandon Bixler 9, Luke Bixler 8, Austin White 6, Hunter Knight 4, Shawn Eakens 2, Cody Young 2. FG 27, FT 13-19, F 23. (3-pointers: Fowler 2, J. Pavy 1. Fouled out: G. Bixler, J. Pavy, Knight).
SCOTT CENTRAL (100) -- Dominique Porter 43, Lamarcus Steward 25, Antonio Johnson 13, Jaylen Porter 10, Larandis Banks 9. FG 36, FT 22-28, F 17. (3-pointers: Banks 1, J. Porter 1. Fouled out: none).