The most stressful part of Scott County boys' basketball senior night involved each player not tripping when he walked through the giant-sized hoop that held together a larger-than-life picture of himself.
Parents' tears gave way to players' laughs and high-fives, and spectators' hoots and hollers after each measure in a symphony of highlight-film plays.
Even venerable coach Billy Hicks ascended to a new level of relaxation. He emptied the bench for the entire second quarter of a 106-71 romp over Clay County.
"We came out just like a well-oiled machine," Hicks said. "I'm really pleased with the way we moved the basketball."
Scott County continued a remarkable run from beyond the 3-point line and matched its largest point total of the season. The Cards also hit 106 back oin December against Lafayette.
Diablo Stewart hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points for SC (27-1), which is 59-for-102 as a team from 3-point range over the past four games.
Glenn Covington added four threes to his collection and finished with 16 points. Terrin Hamilton brought 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Cam Fluker backed up his career-high 29 points in Thursday’s win over Woodford County with a dozen more.
"Diablo has been sick, but he's really shaken it off now," Hicks said, "Glenn is just Glenn and Cam is just Cam. They're coming out here every night and doing that."
Bryce Long logged a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, surpassing 1,500 career points in the process.
Kobi Harris (nine points) and Neil Baker (eight) nearly reached double digits.
"They're an 18 or 19-win team," Hicks said of Clay County. "We just passed the ball so well. We played so good together on defense and everything."
Connor Robinson scored 17 points, Evan Langdon 16 and Raven Abner 13 for Clay County (19-6), which has dropped six of its past nine games since a lengthy unbeaten streak to start the season.
Hicks customarily gets back to his roots and welcomes a 13th, 14th or 15th Region to town at least once every season.
"It was nice to see a lot of friends from Clay County. The Farmer boys, their daddies, we have a long history. Richie and Russ, I was telling those boys before the game I would've had a lot more wins if it wasn't for them," Hicks said. "I love mountain people. They're not going to quit. I love all people, but I really love Appalachian mountain people."
Clay County could represent its section of the state at Rupp Arena in the state tournament, but the Tigers were no match for the No. 1 Cardinals.
Scott County now owns its longest winning streak of the season at 14 games.
The Cardinals shot 57.1 percent from the field, sparked by a couldn’t-miss first quarter.
Stewart sank four 3-pointers in that sequence. Covington added two more, and Harris hit one before the horn for a 34-10 lead.
Hicks gave junior varsity regulars early playing time in the second quarter along with Hamilton, who usually starts but sat in deference to the senior Fluker.
"We wanted to get that second team some quality time," Hicks said. "I put them in and said I'm going to leave you in the whole quarter, regardless. I felt like we could still hold the lead, and we avoided that old running clock for a while."
That group protected most of the lead, led by Hamilton’s seven points, and went SC to the locker room with a 50-32 cushion.
Stewart and Covington’s 3-point parade resumed in the third quarter, although Clay County got in enough licks to keep the margin at 78-56.
"The second half was a lot of offensive basketball at both ends," Hicks said. "It was a lot of fun to play in and a lot of fun to watch. I didn't say a whole lot to them. They were having fun out there. The coach just shut up and let them play."
Fluker dropped a pair of bombs to stretch the lead in the fourth. Jaylen Barber applied the exclamation point with a resounding jam off a feed from Baker.
"I told Neil that Jaylen owes him the biggest milkshake they have," Hicks said. "He put it on a platter for him. All he had to do was get it and dunk it."
Scott County hosts Holy Cross Covington on Wednesday in the News-Graphic live stream of the week before capping the regular season at Paul Laurence Dunbar on Friday.
The newspaper also will debut "Leader of the Pack," a documentary about Hicks' career at the school, before the Holy Cross game at 6 p.m. in Moore Auditirium.
Hicks said that injured star Michael Moreno, named Monday as a Mr. Basketball finalist, could be back on the court this week.
"We're really clicking, and very day Mike is looking better and better," Hicks said. "He hopes he can start jumping on it by Sunday and maybe play some. I'd like to get him out there. That would be good."