HUXLEY – A huge first quarter lifted Ballard to a 48-27 season-opening victory over Gilbert Friday in Huxley.
Behind the strong play of versatile guard Gabie Doud, the Bombers raced out to a 21-3 lead and never looked back in a convincing non-conference victory.
Ballard was a little sloppy at times, tallying 22 turnovers. But the Bombers dominated the glass – outrebounding the Tigers by a 36-20 margin – and they held Gilbert to a 24-percent shooting night from the field.
"You could tell it was the first game," Ballard head coach Kelly Anderson said. "The girls are still getting used to each other. They need to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. When they do that, we’ll be pretty good."
The Bombers were especially tough defensively in the first half, holding Gilbert to just six points the entire half, taking a commanding 25-point lead at the break.
Doud had a terrific start to her sophomore season.
A reserve forward last year, Doud has become the focal point of the Bomber offense. Taking over the primary ball-handling role in addition to being a top option in the low post, Doud netted a career-high 23 points on Friday.
"It’s been an easy transition with the help of my teammates," Doud said. "My teammates know if I get in trouble, I’ll always have someone else to go to."
Doud did most of her damage in the decisive first quarter. She hit a 3-pointer, scored off a drive, went coast-to-coast for another basket, converted a traditional three-point play inside and added two more free throws to end up with 14 points in the quarter.
"It’s been really nice," Doud said. "Last year I wasn’t a 3-point shooter, but I’ve been working on it a lot. Then I just take what my teammates give me."
In addition to her scoring Doud also had six rebounds, four steals and one block.
Emily Knittel – another sophomore – ended up with 11 points. Nine of those points came in the first half and she also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals on the night.
Senior forward Kenzie Ihle tacked on 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field, with eight of those points coming in the second half. Anderson said the trio of Doud, Knittel and Ihle give his team nice balance to help offset the loss of departed all-state center Katie Ahrenholtz.
"Katie was our main scorer last year and everything ran through her," Anderson said. "But we do have kids like Gabie, Emily and Kenzie, so we don’t have to rely on one person. That’s going to help us."
Alanna Dubberke led Ballard in rebounds with seven and she also had one assist, steal and block apiece. Freshman guard Jenna Moody and reserve forward Shelby Drummond each added two points for Ballard.
Gilbert was led by seniors Katie Reed and Hillary Mosiman.
Both Reed and Mosiman netted 10 points and they combined for seven rebounds. Their gutsy play prevented Gilbert from folding in the towel as the Tigers actually outscored Ballard in the second half.
Taylor Broshar tacked on four points and two rebounds, Olivia Tibben scored two points, Elise Powers had four rebounds and one point and Kelly Anderson also snared four boards for Gilbert.
Ballard 48, Gilbert 27
G 3 3 8 13 – 27
B 21 10 10 7 – 48
Gilbert (27) – Katie Reed 3-8 4-6 10, Hillary Mosiman 3-8 2-2 10, Olivia Tibben 1-3 0-0 2, Elise Powers 0-2 1-4 1, Taylor Broshar 1-4 1-1 4, Kelly Anderson 0-4 0-2 0, Chase DeBont 0-0 0-0 0, Jane Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Jacee Lenz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 8-33 8-15 27. 3-point field goals (3): Mosiman 2, Broshar. Rebounds (20): Reed 4, Powers 4, Anderson 4. Fouls 19. Fouled out: None.
Ballard (48) – Emily Knittel 3-8 5-7 11, Gabie Doud 8-15 6-8 23, Alanna Dubberke 01- 0-0 0, Kenzie Ihle 4-8 0-1 10, Abby McGee 0-1 0-0 0, Charcey Petersen 0-1 0-0 0, Jenna Moody 1-3 0-0 2, Sheridan Gealow 0-0 0-0 0, Meredith Ossian 0-3 0-1 0, Sarah Neal 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Larson 0-1 0-0 0, Hannah Jensen 0-0 0-0 0, Shelby Drummond 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 17-42 11-17 48. 3-point field goals (3): Ihle 2, Doud. Rebounds (36): Dubberke 7. Assists (7): Knittel 2. Steals (16): Doud 4. Blocks (2): Doud, Dubberke. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: None.