Bombers get it together in second half against Carroll: Third-ranked Ballard also whips Carlisle

Joe Randleman
Tri-County Times
Ballard's Cassidy Thompson flips a shot up over Carroll's Camryn Schable during the No. 3 (4A) Bombers' 40-22 victory over the Tigers Friday in Huxley.

HUXLEY - An unhappy coach got the Ballard girls’ attention during halftime of their Raccoon River Conference game with Carroll Friday.

The Bombers, ranked third in Class 4A, were clinging to a 19-17 lead at the half. The Bombers were having a tough time putting the ball in the basket, but that wasn’t what was bothering head coach Kelly Anderson as he walked into the locker room.

“We went in at halftime and kind of ripped them a little bit,” Anderson said. “We were not looking like Ballard, especially not on the defensive end.”

Ballard has always taken great pride in its defense, especially under Coach Anderson. It’s that end of the floor that makes or breaks championship-caliber teams. 

“This is our philosophy and what we preach - there are going to be nights where you don’t score so you’ve got to win the game with defense,” Anderson said. “That’s why we do what we do.”

The Bomber girls took their coach to heart in the second half.

Carroll didn’t score a point in the third quarter. The Tigers didn’t hit a field goal until there were less than 2 ½ minutes left in the fourth quarter.

By the time the final buzzer sounded Carroll had only scored five points the entire second half. Ballard pulled away for a decisive 40-22 victory that kept the team perfect a 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Raccoon River Conference heading into next Tuesday’s showdown with No. 2 Gilbert.

“In the second half we got after it more,” Ballard senior point guard Molly Ihle said. “We started making them (commit) more turnovers and get more steals. It turned the tide of the game for us.”

Ihle was the catalyst for Ballard’s awesome defensive performance. She forced a steal right off the bat and really picked up the energy to ignite Ballard’s aggressive traps on defense.

Ihle didn’t score a point until there was 1:29 left in the third quarter. But she was the difference maker in a 19-0 Bomber run that put the game away.

“That’s what you’ve got to love about her and why I’m glad I have her on my team,” Anderson said. “She works so hard.”

Ihle ended up with six points and five steals. She also had six rebounds and two assists.

Molly Ihle scored all six of her points in the second half to help No. 3 Ballard pull away from Carroll for a 40-22 victory Friday in Huxley.

“What makes her what she is are her assists, low turnover average, rebounds and steals,” Anderson said. “She’s been great for four years.”

After failing to take Carroll out of its comfort zone in the first half Ballard ended up forcing 24 turnovers. The Bombers held the Tigers to 26 % shooting and posted a 34-29 rebounding advantage.

Ballard also did a much better job on Carroll’s Ella Collison. 

Collison burned the Bombers for 10 points in the first half. She was held scoreless over the final two quarters.

The defense also got things going for Ballard on offense.

The 3-point shot simply wouldn’t fall on Friday. The Bombers were just 3 of 20 from behind the arc.

But thanks to the steals their pressure defense created they got more easy scoring chances in the second half and made Carroll pay.

“It’s easy when we get transition points,” Ballard guard Brooke Loewe said. “When we play our game it’s a lot easier to get in the flow and easier to score.”

Loewe was the one Bomber capable of scoring with some consistency Friday. She had a game-high 13 points and also pulled down seven rebounds.

Cassidy Thompson gave Ballard a little lift early when everyone else was flat. Thompson scored six points - making Ballard’s first two baskets of the game and also its first bucket of the second half to spark its big run.

“It’s great when we can get those inside points,” Thompson said. “If the defense crashes in then we can get it out to our shooters. If we’re all working together on offense then we’re getting good shots inside and outside.”

Anderson was pleased with Thompson’s effort. He wants to see more of that type of aggressive play in the paint as the season progresses.

“That’s what she needs to do,” Anderson said. “She’s just got to be a little tougher inside. She was more of a key tonight and that’s great.”

Ballard went to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the RRC with the win. 

Ballard 40, Carroll 22

C     9    8     0    5 - 22

B     8   11   13   8 - 40

Carroll (22) - Ella Collison 3-8 3-7 10, Gabriella Hammer 2-5 0-0 5, Kennedy Lein 2-6 0-0 4, Camryn Schable 1-2 0-0 2, Laura Sweeney 0-6 1-2 1, Hannah Jorgensen 0-1 0-0 0, Kelsie Reicks 0-2 0-0 0, Shay Sinnard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 8-30 4-9 22. 3-point field goals (2): Collison, Hammer. Fouls: 6.

Ballard (40) - Brooke Loewe 5-12 1-2 13, Meg Rietz 3-5 0-0 6, Molly Ihle 2-8 2-2 6, Cassidy Thompson 3-7 0-0 6, Kylie Rigby 2-8 0-0 4, Josie Fleischmann 1-9 0-0 3, Lily Hillebrand 1-2 0-0 2, Ashley Wuestenberg 0-1 0-0 0, Sydney Briggs 0-2 0-0 0, Paityn Noe 0-1 0-0 0, Lily Beall 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Noe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-55 3-4 40. 3-point field goals (3): Loewe 2, Fleischmann. Rebounds (34): Loewe 7, Rietz 7. Assists (7): Rietz 2, Fleischmann 2. Steals (11): Ihle 5. Blocks (2): Rietz, Thompson. Fouls: 8.

CARLISLE - Ballard completely overwhelmed Carlisle in Raccoon River Conference play Dec. 15.

The Bombers, ranked second in Class 4A, outscored the Wildcats by at least 10 points in each of the first three quarters in cruising to a 62-19 victory.

Ballard held Carlisle to 24 % shooting from the field and forced 21 turnovers. The Bombers also posted a 30-25 rebounding advantage.

On offense Ballard made 11 3-pointers and committed just four turnovers.

Josie Fleischmann canned six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points for Ballard. Kylie Rigby came up big off the bench, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points.

Brooke Loewe had eight points, seven assists and five rebounds and Molly Ihle five points, eight steals, six rebounds and four assists for the Bombers. Lily Hillebrand scored seven points off the bench, Cassidy Thompson and Ashley Wuestenberg tallied four points apiece, Paityn Noe and Sydney Briggs each scored two points and Meg Rietz pulled down five rebounds and blocked one shot.

The victory put Ballard at 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the RRC. Carlisle fell to 1-2 both overall and in the conference.

Sydney Berg led Carlisle with nine points and Emma Pitts scored four against the Bombers.

Ballard 62, Carlisle 19

B    19   21   15    7 - 62

C      5    2      5    7 - 19

Ballard (62) - Brooke Loewe 4-10 0-0 8, Meg Rietz 0-2 1-2 1, Cassidy Thompson 2-2 0-0 4, Josie Fleischmann 6-13 0-0 18, Molly Ihle 1-7 2-2 5, Paityn Noe 1-1 0-0 2, Kylie Rigby 4-9 0-0 11, Lily Beall 0-1 0-0 0, Sydney Briggs 1-1 0-0 2, Paige Noe 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Wuestenberg 2-3 0-0 4, Lily Hillebrand 2-5 2-2 7. Totals: 23-54 5-6 62. 3-point field goals (11): Fleischmann 6, Rigby 3, Ihle, Hillebrand. Rebounds (30): Ihle 6. Assists (22): Loewe 7. Steals (17): Ihle 8. Blocks (3): Loewe, Rietz, Paityn Noe. Fouls: 8.

Carlisle (19) - Sydney Berg 4-10 0-0 9, Emma Pitts 1-3 2-4 4, Katie Keeney 1-5 1-2 3, Madison Olson 1-3 0-0 3, Sage Austin 0-2 0-0 0, Kaliyah Freeman 0-0 0-0 0, Caylin Furnal 0-1 0-0 0, Ally Nolte 0-2 0-0 0, Riley Sievers 0-0 0-0 0, Amelia Sinclair 0-1 0-0 0, Sarah Wachal 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 7-29 3-6 19. 3-point field goals (2): Berg, Olson. Fouls: 5.