HUXLEY - Ballard took advantage of its size and the free throw line to outlast non-conference rival Nevada, 68-63, Saturday.


The Bombers outscored the Cubs 46-38 in an explosive second half. Connor Drew, a 6-6 forward, went for 26 points - including 10 in the fourth quarter - and 12 rebounds and Ballard did just enough to slow down the Cubs over the final eight minutes to improve its record to 4-3.


“We started off slow, but we finished the job,” Drew said. “We limited turnovers, (got) stops on defense and finished at the other end.”


Ballard was down 55-50 in the fourth when Drew scored a basket and Sam Petersen followed with a score to pull the Bombers within one. Drew scored again to give Ballard the lead and the Bombers never trailed again.


Drew’s muscle inside, complemented by 6-5 teammate Kale Krogh, helped Ballard take charge in the fourth quarter. Ballard outrebounded Nevada, 35-29.


“We really tried to work them inside,” Drew said. “We were a little taller than them and we could get kickouts from inside out and that really helps a lot. Size was really a factor.”


Free throws were also big. Ballard made 18 of 26 shots from the line, including 6 of 8 down the stretch.


“We had to finish the game with free throws,” Ashton Hermann said. “That was big.”


Hermann complemented Drew with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals for Ballard. Krogh and Sam Petersen added seven points apiece and Mason Murphy scored six.


Krogh also had seven rebounds and Petersen six rebounds and three assists. Murphy was tremendous directing the Bomber attack, dishing out 10 assists on the night.


Petersen came up big defensively guarding Nevada shooting ace Tyler Sansgaard. Sansgaard went for a game-high 35 points, but was held to six over the final minutes.


“He was a really good player,” Petersen. “He can hit some 3s, but I felt confident on his drive. I knew late in the game he was getting the ball and he was shooting when he had it. It was one-on-one and I wanted to win it. I thought I did for the most part.”


Nevada fell to 4-5. Sansgaard ended up with six 3-pointers in a tremendous effort for the Cubs in the loss.


Ty Dimmer finished with nine points, four rebounds, two assists and a block. Henry Nelson added seven points, four rebounds and two assists, Cooper Bovee five points and Kody Kruschwitz four points and rebounds apiece for the Cubs.


Ballard 68, Nevada 63


N 15 10 25 13 - 63


B 15 7 26 20 - 68


Nevada (63) - Colin Memmer 0-2 0-0 0, Chase Lycke 0-2 1-2 1, Ty Dittmer 1-7 6-6 9, Kody Kruschwitz 2-4 0-0 4, Tyler Sansgaard 11-19 7-8 35, Spencer Grant 1-1 0-0 2, Ayden Rhodes 0-1 0-0 0, Henry Nelson 3-10 1-3 7, Cooper Bovee 2-5 1-1 5. Totals: 20-51 16-21 63. 3-point field goals (7): Sansgaard 6, Dittmer. Rebounds (29): Rhodes 5. Assists (15): Rhodes 4. Steals (8): Lycke 2. Blocks (2): Dittmer, Nelson. Fouls:18.


Ballard (68) - Mason Murphy 2-7 2-2 6, Nic Edwards 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Petersen 2-9 3-7 7, Kade Reinertson 2-4 0-0 4, Drake Wunder 0-0 0-0 0, Ashton Hermann 6-13 3-3 15, Connor Drew 9-19 7-10 26, Jacob Ihle 1-2 0-0 3, Kale Krogh 2-3 3-4 7. Totals: 24-57 18-26 68. 3-point field goals (2): Drew, Ihle. Rebounds (35): Drew 12. Assists (20): Murphy 10. Steals (7): Hermann 3. Blocks (2): Petersen, Krogh. Fouls: 22. Fouled out Petersen.