HUXLEY – A huge game from senior guard Mason Jensen and strong shooting from the foul line as a team was enough to get Ballard past Bondurant-Farrar, 71-59, Friday in Huxley.

Ballard used a great second quarter to control the first half. But it took a strong finishing spurt over the final five minutes of regulation to hold off a Bondurant-Farrar rally as the Bombers improved to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in the Raccoon River Conference.

The Bombers led by 13 points at the half. But in the second half, Bondurant-Farrar’s Tyrus Riley started to heat up and the Bluejays began to chip away at Ballard’s lead.

Riley hit two baskets in the third quarter and his brother Tyvin hit a 3-pointer and another basket to help get Bondurant-Farrar within six by the end of the quarter. Tyrus then scored Bondurant-Farrar’s first 10 points of the fourth quarter to pull the Bluejays even closer.

After Tyrus hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Bondurant-Farrar was suddenly within 54-52. But then Hartman stepped up with a big putback and Mason Edwards scored inside to give Ballard a little breathing room.

Sam Duffy cut Ballard’s lead back down to 58-54 with 3:19 to go, but Kolby Jensen and Nethers followed with four big free throws. After Hartman converted a three-point play off a great pass from Nethers, Ballard was up 65-56 with 2:07 left and Hartman added two more baskets down the stretch to help Ballard wrap up the victory.

Mason Jensen ended up matching his career high of 27 points set just three nights earlier in a loss at Carroll. He aggressively attacked the basket all night – getting off 19 field goals and eight free throws.

Jensen ended up 9 of 19 from the field, 2 of 6 from 3-point range and 7 of 8 from the line. He also contributed eight rebounds and six assists as the catalyst for Ballard on the night.

"After losing a couple key players from last year, and the fact I’m a senior, I feel it’s my responsibility to lead the team," Jensen said after hitting the 20-point mark for the seventh time this season. "Whatever way I can do that – whether it’s scoring, passing or just being a good leader."

Jensen also credited his teammates for stepping up.

Hartman ended up with 14 points and nine rebounds and Nethers hit three early 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, three assists and two steals. Mason Edwards chipped in eight points and seven rebounds, Jaden Moody netted seven points off the bench and Kolby tacked on four points.

"We’re really starting to play a lot better than we were at the beginning of the season," Mason Jensen said. "Everyone is starting to be more confident. I mean, Jacob is shooting lights out, so then there are driving lanes, and Nick is finishing around the rim. If I don’t have a layup, I can always dish it off inside or hit Jacob for a 3."

Ballard ended up shooting 48 percent from the field and the Bombers made 16 of 22 free throws and 7 of 19 3-pointers. Ballard also held a big 36-19 rebounding advantage, which helped make up for 14 turnovers.

The Bombers do need to shore up some things on defense. Bondurant-Farrar shot 50 percent from the field.

"Bondurant was starting to get some easy shots," Mason Jensen said. "We need to start playing better defense."

Bondurant-Farrar dropped to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the RRC with the loss.

Tyrus Riley ended up with 18 points – 14 coming in the second half. He also grabbed four rebounds.

Tyvin Riley totaled 10 points and two assists and Duffy contributed 12 points, three steals and one block. Drake Fuller tacked on nine points and five assists and Grant Klinefelter scored nine points for the Bluejays.

Ballard 71, Bondurant-Farrar 59

B-F 14 9 19 17 – 59

B 16 20 12 23 – 71

Bondurant-Farrar (59) – Trey Duit 0-0 0-0 0, Tyvin Riley 4-8 1-4 10, Drake Fuller 4-10 1-2 9, Grant Petersen 0-2 0-0 0, Joey Koke 0-3 0-0 0, Tyrus Riley 8-13 0-0 18, Dillon Stafford 0-0 1-1 1, Grant Klinefelter 4-6 0-0 9, Sam Duffy 6-10 0-1 12. Totals: 26-52 3-8 59. 3-point field goals (4): Tyr. Riley 2, Tyv. Riley, Klinefelter. Rebounds (19): Petersen 4, Tyr. Riley 4. Assists (9): Fuller 5. Steals (5): Duffy 3. Blocks (1): Duffy.

Ballard (71) – Jacob Nethers 3-7 2-2 11, Nathan Carlin 0-1 0-0 0, Jaden Moody 3-6 0-0 7, Mason Jensen 9-19 7-8 27, Kolby Jensen 0-4 4-7 4, Nick Hartman 6-8 1-1 14, Mason Edwards 3-5 2-4 8. Totals: 24-50 16-22 71. 3-point field goals (7): Nethers 3, M. Jensen 2, Moody, Hartman. Rebounds (36): Hartman 9. Assists (13): M. Jensen 6. Steals (4): Nethers 2. Blocks: None.

CARROLL – A monster third quarter nearly enabled Ballard to upset Carroll in a Raccoon River Conference affair Jan. 7 at Carroll.

A horrid second quarter appeared to take Ballard completely out of the game as the Bombers trailed 41-26 at the half. But Ballard turned things around big time in the third quarter, holding Carroll to five points in the period and exploding for 27 points to take a 53-46 lead.

But unfortunately for Ballard, that wasn’t the last big momentum shift in the game. Carroll woke up out of its offensive funk to scorch Ballard for 30 points in the fourth quarter and surge ahead to hand the Bombers their first RRC loss.

Ballard hung tough despite allowing Carroll to shoot 51 percent from the field, totaling two more turnovers (12 to 10) and suffering a slim 30-29 rebounding deficit.

Outside shooting played a big role in Ballard’s ability to stay with the No. 5 team in Class 3A. The Bombers made nine 3-pointers and held Carroll to 2 of 15 shooting from behind the arc.

Mason Jensen led Ballard with 27 points. He also had eight assists and seven rebounds in a terrific all-around performance.

Jacob Nethers was Ballard’s big 3-point shooter. He made 5 of 9 shots from long range to finish with 19 points.

Kolby Jensen also scored in double figures with 11 points, and he added four rebounds and three assists for the Bombers. Nick Hartman tacked on seven points and six rebounds, Mason Edwards scored five points and Nathan Carlin snared six rebounds for the Bombers.

Cody Netusil led Carroll with 23 points and nine rebounds. Dalton Helmkamp and Eli Cleveland scored 15 points apiece and Addison Ross tallied 14 points and four assists for the Tigers.

Carroll 76, Ballard 69

B 17 9 27 16 – 69

C 15 26 5 30 – 76

Ballard (69) – Jaden Moody 0-3 0-0 0, Kolby Jensen 3-6 4-4 11, Jacob Nethers 7-13 0-1 19, Mason Jensen 7-18 12-16 27, Mason Edwards 2-3 0-0 5, Nathan Carlin 0-3 0-0 0, Cole Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Chase Seibert 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Hartman 3-6 0-0 7. Totals: 22-52 16-21 69. 3-point field goals (9): Nethers 5, K. Jensen, M. Jensen, Edwards, Hartman. Rebounds (29): M. Jensen 7. Assists (14): M. Jensen 8. Steals (3): Moody, M. Jensen, Wilson. Blocks: None.

Carroll (76) – Kyle Christensen 0-2 1-2 1, Addison Ross 6-14 2-5 14, Dalton Helmkamp 5-6 4-4 15, Eli Cleveland 7-13 0-0 15, Ben Wellendorf 1-2 3-6 5, Cody Netusil 7-10 9-12 23, Zach Riddle 0-1 1-2 1, Kolby Molinsky 1-3 0-0 2, Chase Netusil 0-0 0-0 0, Kacy Snyder 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-52 20-31 76. 3-point field goals (2): Helmkamp, Cleveland. Rebounds (30): Co. Netusil 9. Assists (11): Ross 4. Steals (6): Helmkamp 2. Blocks: None.