It took a whole cast of characters for Taylor County to upend Adair County 54-49 for the 20th District Tournament championship on Saturday night in Columbia.
Despite losing Leonard Macon with two quick fouls in the first quarter, it was the Cardinals' defense that enabled Taylor County to lead 27-23 at the intermission.
"We just tried to change it up," admitted TCHS head coach Troy Young.
While Macon and Chase Cox have gotten most of the credit for the Cards' stellar season, it was time for the supporting cast to step up in the second half to put an exclamation point on the victory.
When the Indians (23-7) cut an 11-point third quarter deficit to 38-37 at the end of the frame, it was Michael Coulter who fed Cox to increase the cushion back out to three.
And when Darren Ballou's "long" left-wing three put Adair County up 44-42 with 4:54 remaining, it was again Coulter to spark the Cards' efforts with a right-wing trey to regain the lead.
Down the stretch, it was the CU duo (both fathers are employed at Campbellsville University) of Shane Morris and Lloyd Stotts who collaborated for some huge plays.
Stotts used a Morris screen to increase TCHS' lead from 47-46 to 49-46 and had a putback to make it 51-46 and a free throw to push the lead to 52-49 after another Ballou bomb.
Morris had several key steals to help ignite the Cards' lead and also had a defensive board before Stotts' putback. Fellow senior Chris Thomas had his normal banked-in jumper from the charity stripe and added a lay-up to end the first frame on a Coulter feed.
It was one of the lead actors who starred again when Macon stole a pass and converted with less than 30 seconds remaining.
"It was definitely a team effort," said Young, who has guided the Cards to eight region berths in his nine-year tenure. "I'm really proud of all of them.
"They really wanted this game. It's a bigger prize next week, but we had lost to them six straight times."
Taylor County (23-6) battled Nelson County in the Fifth Region Tournament last night at Marion County with the victor playing on Sunday at 2:30 in the semifinals. The championship game is slated for Tuesday at 7.