NORWALK - The last three minutes made the difference in Ballard’s 51-40 loss to Dallas Center-Grimes in the Class 3A boys’ basketball substate quarterfinals Monday at Norwalk.


The Bombers rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 38-36 lead with five minutes, 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter following a long Chase Winterboer 3-pointer. Ballard still maintained a 40-39 lead after a Max Olsan basket, heading toward the final three minutes.


But that was the last time the Bombers put the ball in the net.


Damon Clapper hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the score with 3:02 remaining. On its next possession, Ballard had a costly turnover on an inbounds play into the backcourt that resulted in a three-point play by Steve Borneman with 2:50 remaining.


Borneman added another basket and Clapper canned two more free throws to push DCG’s lead to seven with just 1:34 left. Jordan Humphreys and Clapper combined to hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final 1:10 to sew up the Mustang triumph.


“We had a couple lapses where we turned it over and that’s kind of the ball game right there,” Ballard head boys’ basketball coach Chris Deason said. “I thought there were two situations where I should’ve called time out and bailed us out and I didn’t, so that hurt us.”


Both teams shot 40 percent from the field. But DCG had a significant edge at the foul line, converting 20 of 26 free throws to Ballard’s 5 of 8 showing.


Ballard had to play catch-up on two separate occasions before running out of steam late.


The Bombers came back from an early 9-2 deficit to go up 17-12 in the second quarter. DCG went up 22-21 at the half, then increased its lead to 34-24 late in the third quarter before Ballard countered with a 16-5 run to set up the finish.


“Our guys battled,” Deason said. “I thought we played really hard and I thought we played well defensively. We just made a couple mental mistakes here and there, and in a tight ballgame with a good team, that’s enough to cost you.”


Ballard finished the season at 9-13. The Bombers lose some key leaders in Isaac Schafbuch, Trey Drummond, Nate Briggs, Zach Zeller and Evan Andersen, but return their top offensive weapons in Winterboer and freshman post Connor Drew.


“We’re so thankful for everything our seniors have done for us, (but) on the other side of it, we’re excited with the guys we have coming back,” Deason said. “With our juniors and obviously Connor (Drew), and then we’ve got some sophomores I think are ready to step up and play too. It should be a really fun off-season.”


Drew led Ballard against DCG with 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Winterboer had nine points and one assist; Olsan seven points and three rebounds; Schafbuch five points; Reece Huen four points, two assists and two steals and Briggs three points and one block.


DCG will take a 13-9 record into the substate semifinals versus Norwalk (20-2) tonight. Clapper finished with 20 points and eight rebounds; Borneman 16 points, six rebounds and four steals and Justin Protzman 10 points and six rebounds against the Bombers.


Dallas Center-Grimes 51, Ballard 40


B 9 12 10 9 - 40


DCG 12 10 13 16 - 51


Ballard (40) - Connor Drew 5-10 2-4 12, Chase Winterboer 4-9 0-0 9, Max Olsan 3-5 0-0 7, Isaac Schafbuch 2-8 0-0 5, Reece Huen 1-2 2-2 4, Nate Briggs 1-2 1-2 3, Isaiah Deason 0-2 0-0 0, Trey Drummond 0-1 0-0 0, Kegan Odden 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Zeller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-40 5-8 40. 3-point field goals (3): Winterboer, Olsan, Schafbuch. Rebounds (24): Drew 11. Assists (5): Huen 2. Steals (5): Huen 2. Blocks (5): Drew 2. Fouls: 22.


DCG (51) - Damon Clapper 6-13 8-10 20, Steve Borneman 4-8 8-11 16, Justin Protzman 4-6 1-2 10, Jordan Humphreys 1-4 3-3 5, Justin Biegger 0-1 0-0 0, Tyler Cooney 0-3 0-0 0, Tyler Borneman 0-1 0-0 0, Kade Rosa 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-37 20-26 51. 3-point field goals (1): Protzman. Rebounds (28): Clapper 8. Assists (4): Humphreys 2. Steals (6): S. Borneman 4. Blocks: None. Fouls: 13.


HUXLEY - Ballard ended the regular season taking down Des Moines Lincoln behind a strong offensive performance, 72-64, Feb. 15 at Huxley.


The Bombers shot 50 percent from the field and held Des Moines Lincoln to 2 of 22 shooting from 3-point range, earning their ninth victory of the season.


Ballard scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to separate from Lincoln down the stretch. The two teams entered the final eight minutes with the Bombers holding a slim 49-47 advantage.


Isaac Schafbuch and Chase Winterboer both netted 21 points and Connor Drew posted a double-double for Ballard in the win.


Schafbuch made 9 of 14 shots and also had three assists and two steals to go out in style in his final game on his home court. Winterboer made four 3-pointers and also had three assists.


Drew finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Nate Briggs added seven points, four rebounds and two assists for the Bombers.


Will Feller scored a game-high 24 points for Des Moines Lincoln and he also pulled down nine rebounds.


Ballard 72, Des Moines Lincoln 64


DML 14 16 17 17 - 64


B 13 18 18 23 - 72


Des Moines Lincoln (64) - Will Feller 10-19 4-4 24, Ben Knoebel 3-10 3-5 11, Felix Gallagher 4-8 0-1 8, Josiah Conkrite 4-11 0-1 8, Ben Badger 2-7 3-4 7, Blake Barnett 2-6 2-2 6, Maiwut Jock 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Sharp 0-0 0-0 0, Steve Lo 0-1 0-0 0, Kameron Young 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-62 12-17 64. 3-point field goals (2): Knoebel 2. Rebounds (34): Feller 9. Assists (5): Conkrite 3. Steals (5): Conkrite 2, Barnett 2. Blocks (2): Gallagher 2. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Barnett.


Ballard (72) - Chase Winterboer 6-9 5-5 21, Isaac Schafbuch 9-14 1-2 21, Connor Drew 7-15 4-5 18, Nate Briggs 2-3 3-4 7, Isaiah Deason 0-1 2-4 2, Reece Huen 1-1 0-0 2, Trey Drummond 0-3 1-2 1, Max Olsan 0-2 0-0 0, Brooks Fleischmann 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Zeller 0-2 0-1 0. Totals: 25-50 16-23 72. 3-point field goals (6): Winterboer 4, Schafbuch 2. Rebounds (34): Drew 10. Assists (13): Winterboer 3, Schafbuch 3, Drummond 3. Steals (4): Schafbuch 2. Blocks (1): Odden. Fouls: 17.