HUXLEY - With its back against the wall the Ballard girls’ basketball team rose to the occasion in a big way versus Mason City in the Class 4A regional finals versus Mason City Tuesday.


The Bombers trailed 35-28 in the third quarter, but ended the game on a 30-10 run to punch their tickets to state for the first time since 2016 with a 58-45 victory.


“Everybody saw tonight why I love this team that I’ve got,” Ballard head coach Kelly Anderson said. “That’s just the way they are. They just don’t change. Whether they’re up, down or whatever they just keep playing hard and doing what we’re supposed to be doing. They never think they’re out of it and they aren’t because of the way they play.”


Molly Ihle was the main catalyst for Ballard’s huge final push. She scored 13 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter.


Ihle hit a 3-pointer with 5:15 left in the fourth to tie the game at 37-37 and she later scored on a drive and then made six consecutive free throws to help Ballard ice the game.


“We practice those types of situations in practice,” Ihle said. “We just know when it’s game time you have to just focus on the hoop, not anything distracting, and just put them in.”


Ihle also led Ballard in rebounds with 11, assists with four and steals with two.


Meg Rietz scored the go-ahead basket on a putback with 3:47 left to make the score 41-39.


“It was just a really good pass from Maggie (Larson),” Rietz said. “We were looking for each other in the down low and we all had a really good passing game today.”


The Bombers never trailed after that in improving to 22-1 heading into state.


“It feels so good,” Larson said. “It feels really great to have our hard work pay off.”


Larson had six points and three rebounds and assists apiece and Rietz five points and four rebounds. Brooke Loewe finished with 12 points and three assists, Josie Fleischmann eight points with two three points and a pair of assists and Rachel Wohlgemuth two points and five offensive rebounds.


Mason City ended its season at 12-11. Ali Rood led the 12th-ranked Mohawks with 12 points, Jada Williams added 10 points and Jaeda Whitner scored six.


Ballard 58, Mason City 45


MC 10 14 13 8 - 45


B 11 11 12 24 - 58


Mason City (45) - Ali Rood 4-5 0-1 12, Jada Williams 3-11 6-8 12, Anna Deets 5-13 0-0 10, Jaeda Whitner 3-11 0-0 6, Sami Miller 1-4 0-0 3, Emma Hollander 1-1 0-0 2, Brianna Notermann 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-46 6-9 45. 3-point field goals (5): Rood 4, Miller. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Rood, Deets.


Ballard (58) - Molly Ihle 4-12 12-13 21, Brooke Loewe 4-8 3-5 12, Josie Fleischmann 2-9 2-3 8, Maggie Larson 3-9 0-0 6, Meg Rietz 1-1 3-5 5, Cassidy Thompson 2-6 0-0 4, Rachel Wohlgemuth 1-4 0-0 2, Sydney Briggs 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Rigby 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-49 20-26 58. 3-point field goals (4): Fleischmann 2, Ihle, Loewe. Rebounds (33): Ihle 11. Assists (15): Ihle 4. Steals (3): Ihle 2. Blocks (3): Thompson 2. Fouls: 13.


HUXLEY - Ballard used a strong second half to post 57-39 victory over Boone in the Class 4A regional semifinals Saturday.


The Bombers had a tough time getting separation in the first half. They only led 22-18 at the half.


But in the third quarter Ballard put up 18 points and played tough defense to go up 40-27. They stretched the lead in the fourth quarter to advance to the regional final with a 21-1 record.


Ballard forced 18 turnovers and only committed six. The Bombers got 20 points off those turnovers, which helped them pull away.


Josie Fleischmann was hot from outside, making 5 of 8 3-pointers in finishing with 19 points for Ballard in the win. Molly Ihle went for 10 points, six steals and four assists and Cassidy Thompson nine points, seven rebounds and five blocks.


Rachel Wohlgemuth added six points and Meg Rietz five points, five rebounds and four assists off the bench for Ballard. Brooke Loewe and Ashley Wuestenberg chipped in three points apiece.


Boone finished the season at 6-17. Emma Dighton went for 19 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort for the Toreadors.


Ballard 57, Boone 39


Boone 8 10 9 12 - 39


Ballard 11 11 18 17 - 57


Boone (39) - Emily Ades 1-4 0-0 3, Ashley Behrendt 2-8 1-3 6, Emmy Lewis 2-3 0-0 6, Katie Winter 0-5 0-0 0, Zoey Hightshoe 1-2 0-0 2, Emma Dighton 6-11 4-5 19, Audrey Castle 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Kathman 1-4 0-0 3, Hannah Chesnut 0-0 0-0 0, Paxton Swanson 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsea Moorman 0-0 0-0 0, Brenna Vote 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-37 5-8 39. 3-point field goals (8): Dighton 3, Lewis 2, Ades, Behrendt, Kathman. Rebounds (23): Dighton 11. Assists (11): Chesnut 3. Steals (2): Behrendt, Dighton. Blocks (1): Winter. Fouls: 13.


Ballard (57) - Josie Fleischmann 7-11 0-0 19, Molly Ihle 4-11 0-0 10, Cassidy Thompson 3-10 2-2 9, Rachel Wohlgemuth 3-5 0-0 6, Meg Rietz 2-4 1-2 5, Brooke Loewe 1-3 0-0 3, Ashley Wuestenberg 1-1 1-2 3, Maggie Larson 1-7 0-1 2, Kylie Rigby 0-0 0-0 0, Sydney Briggs 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Lily Hillebrand 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-53 4-7 57. 3-point field goals (9): Fleischmann 5, Ihle 2, Thompson, Loewe. Rebounds (27): Thompson 7. Assists (19): Ihle 4, Rietz 4, Ihle 4. Stelas (14): Ihle 6. Blocks (5): Thompson 5. Fouls: 12.