Ballard boys outclass rival North Polk, 81-55: No. 5 Bombers use size, 3-pointers to whip Comets
HUXLEY - The Ballard boys’ basketball team used a big edge in the paint, hot outside shooting and suffocating defense to dismantle rival North Polk, 81-55, Jan. 5.
The Bombers, ranked fifth in Class 3A, made 14 3-pointers, including 12 in the first half. The second half saw them turn to their post tandem of Kale Krogh and Connor Drew overpower North Polk inside.
Ballard also held the Comets to just six points over the final five minutes to pull away and improve to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the Raccoon River Conference.
“I thought we had a good winter break and we were excited to get out there and play,” Ballard head coach Jeff Schertz said. “We were trying to make some marginal gains. We’ve got a pretty good team, but we’d still like to make some improvements as the year goes on. I thought we did a good job with our attention to what we were trying to do defensively and I thought our intensity was there.”
Behind its hot outside shooting Ballard led 46-28 at the half.
“We had a lot of time to prepare for this game so we were ready to play,” Ballard point guard Mason Murphy said. “We came with a good game plan.”
Murphy ended up with 13 points and five assists. Ashton Hermann led Ballard with 18 points and credited scrimmages over the break with helping Ballard toughen up for its first game since Christmas.
“We’ve been practicing hard trying to get better and those scrimmages with Ames and (Des Moines) Hoover over break rally helped us a lot as a team,” said. “(Class) 4A definitely has more physical guys – bigger, faster, stronger. It definitely helped us get more physical.”
The second half of Tuesday’s game saw Krogh and Drew take over.
Krogh scored eight of his 10 points in the second half. After North Polk cut a 20-point Ballard lead to 11 in the third quarter Krogh put up back-to-back buckets to help Ballard push its advantage back to 18 by the end of the quarter.
Krogh also finished with 11 rebounds and four blocks. He came up with a couple of big blocks in the first half that played a key role in a 15-4 run that helped Ballard take control for good.
“We were focusing on the big spots on defense and it kind of carried our offense,” Krogh said. “It just gets the pace going for us.”
Drew scored nine of his 15 points in the second half. He also pulled down seven rebounds and became Ballard’s all-time leading rebounder during the game.
The combination of Krogh and Drew is too much for most teams to deal with in 3A. Both players are listed at 6-7 and they also have a lot of muscle, with Krogh weighing around 265 pounds and Drew 225.
“With the two of us to bang around it allows us to out-physical any other team we play,” Krogh said. “Some teams might have one guy, but we have two to bang with each other every day to prepare us for matchups.”
Schertz was also happy with the defensive job his players did on North Polk’s Jevin Sullivan.
Sullivan was averaging 20 points entering Tuesday’s game. He scored 16 against Ballard and was held to just three field goals.
“We tried to take away his space,” Schertz said. “It was a number of guys. I think everyone that played in the first few quarters ended up on him at a different point.”
Isaiah Peasley hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points and Kade Miller, Kyler Watson, Colby Calvert and Sam Petersen each made one 3-pointer for Ballard in the victory. Miller and Petersen each finished with five points.
North Polk fell to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference. Austin Parkins backed up Sullivan with nine points, Marcus Haupert scored eight and Hunter Manock finished with seven for the Comets.
Ballard 81, North Polk 55
NP 18 10 17 10 – 55
B 23 23 17 18 – 81
North Polk (55) - Jack Bunkers 0 0-0 0, Hunter Manock 2 1-4 7, Jaxon Rutledge 0 2-2 2, Luke Maring 2 4-4 9, Andrew Weig 0 0-0 0, Jackson Nemmers 2 0-0 4, Austin Parkins 3 1-3 9, Jevin Sullivan 3 9-10 16, Thomas Jones 0 0-0 0, Marcus Haupert 4 0-0 8, Kole Krings 0 0-2 0. Totals: 16 17-27 55. 3-point field goals (6): Manock 2, Parkins 2, Maring, Sullivan. Fouls: 15.
Ballard (81) - Mason Murphy 5-7 0-0 13, Alex Upah 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Petersen 1-2 2-2 5, Kyler Watson 1-1 0-0 3, Colby Calvert 1-2 0-0 3, Isaiah Peasley 3-3 0-0 9, Ashton Hermann 7-14 2-2 18, Kade Miller 2-4 0-1 5, Connor Drew 5-9 3-3 15, Jacob Ihle 0-5 0-0 0, Kale Krogh 4-5 2-2 10. Totals: 29-52 9-13 81. 3-point field goals (14): Murphy 3, Peasley 3, Hermann 2, Drew 2, Petersen, Watson, Calvert, Miller. Rebounds (33): Krogh 11. Assists (16): Murphy 5. Steals (5): Drew 3. Blocks (4): Krogh 4. Fouls: 17.