HUXLEY - Ballard overcome some early adversity to hang tough most of the way with pre-season Raccoon River Conference favorite Carlisle, but the Bombers struggled down the final stretch in a 64-50 loss Dec. 19 in Huxley.

Ballard suffered its first conference loss, falling to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the conference. The Bombers cut a 10-point deficit down to three in the fourth quarter, but Carlisle ended the game on a 16-5 run to raise its record to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the conference.

Carlisle’s Tommy Donovan was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim after scoring on a dunk while getting fouled with five minutes, 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Donovan made the free throw to put Carlisle up seven, but then Chase Winterboer sank both technical foul shots and Kegan Odden scored a basket to draw Ballard within 48-45 with over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Then the Bombers hit a wall. Carlisle’s Collin Lister drained a 3-pointer and Donovan hit two free throws to put the Wildcats up eight with 4:01 to go. Carlisle eventually increased its lead to 58-45 to put the game away.

“We had it at a one-possession game and felt like we were in pretty good position,” Ballard head boys’ basketball coach Chris Deason said. “Then they hit a big 3 and we didn’t get a bucket after that. Then (the lead) crept up to about eight and then we didn’t run offense as well as we needed to down the stretch to make up for it and in the end probably turned it over a few too many times.”

Ballard totaled 17 turnovers on the night to 12 for Carlisle. The Bombers also shot only 29 percent from 3-point range, compared the Wildcats’ 46-percent showing from beyond the arc.

Deason said the loss provides an opportunity for his young team to learn from its mistakes and figure out how to close games better by the time the season starts winding down.

“We wanted to see where we were at,” Deason said. “We’re just not quite there yet. A lot of our guys that haven’t played in varsity games — it’s just a matter of getting those reps. We’ll just keep plugging away, keep moving forward and try to get better tomorrow.”

Connor Drew continued the hot start to his freshman season with 15 points, eight rebounds and one block for Ballard. Winterboer had 10 points, one assist and one steal and Odden finished with six points and rebounds apiece.

Donovan ended with a game-high 19 points and he also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals for Carlisle. Lister added 16 points, four assists and four steals; Max Goodhue tallied 13 points and seven rebounds and Cole Henderson finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and five steals.

Carlisle 64, Ballard 50

C 13 21 11 19 - 64

B 11 14 12 13 - 50

Carlisle (64) - Tommy Donovan 7-13 3-3 19, Collin Lister 6-16 2-4 16, Max Goodhue 5-8 3-5 13, Cole Henderson 3-10 2-2 10, Nolan Brunsen 2-3 0-0 4, Trenton Beck 1-1 0-0 2, Ben Rowray 0-0 0-0 0, Kacyn Pickering 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-51 10-14 64. 3-point field goals (6): Donovan 2, Lister 2, Henderson 2. Rebounds (31): Henderson 9. Assists (10): Donovan 4, Lister 4. Steals (12): Henderson 5. Blocks (2): Goodhue, Henderson. Fouls: 9.

Ballard (50) - Connor Drew 6-12 3-6 15, Chase Winterboer 3-8 2-2 10, Kegan Odden 3-3 0-1 6, Max Olsan 2-7 0-0 6, Trey Drummond 2-7 0-0 5, Brooks Fleischmann 2-4 0-0 4, Isaiah Deason 1-4 0-0 2, Isaac Schafbuch 1-3 0-0 2, Reece Huen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-49 5-9 50. 3-point field goals (5): Winterboer 2, Olsan 2, Drummond. Rebounds (32): Drew 8. Assists (9): Drummond 3. Steals (5): Winterboer, Olsan, Drummond, Fleischmann, Huen. Blocks (3): Schafbuch 2. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Schafbuch.