Top-ranked Ballard boys roll to two RRC victories: Bombers thump North Polk, Gilbert

Joe Randleman
Tri-County Times
Ballard's Connor Drew goes up to throw down a one-handed dunk during the No. 1 (3A) Bombers' 84-38 victory over Gilbert Feb. 2 at Huxley.

ALLEMAN - The No. 1 Ballard boys’ basketball team made short work of rival North Polk Friday. 

The Bombers took a 16-point lead after the first quarter, went up by 26 at the half and coasted to a 71-36 victory. 

Ballard improved to 15-1 on the season and 13-1 in the Raccoon River Conference. The Bombers shot 57 % from the field and had nine offensive rebounds.  

Ashton Hermann led a balanced Bomber attack with 18 points, Mason Murphy and Connor Drew netted 16 apiece, Isaiah Peasley scored nine and Kale Krogh finished with eight. Hermann also had six assists, Murphy four assists, Drew six rebounds, five assists and two blocks, Peasley 10 rebounds and four assists and Krogh four rebounds. 

Sam Petersen and Jacob Ihle each scored two points for the Bombers. Ihle also pulled down four rebounds. 

Jevin Sullivan led North Polk with 18 points. The Comets fell to 6-10 overall and 6-8 in the conference. 

Ballard 71, North Polk 36 

B      23   16   15   17 – 71 

NP      7     6   13   10 – 36 

Ballard (71) - Mason Murphy 6-9 2-4 16, Alex Upah 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Petersen 1-4 0-0 2, Kyler Watson 0-0 0-0 0, Colby Calvert 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Peasley 3-6 0-0 9, Ashton Hermann 8-14 1-2 18, Kade Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Connor Drew 7-12 0-0 16, Bryce Haessig 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Ihle 1-2 0-0 2, Jayden Cattell 0-0 0-0 0, Kale Krogh 4-5 0-0 8. Totals: 30-53 3-6 71. 3-point field goals (8): Peasley 3, Murphy 2, Drew 2, Hermann. Rebounds (33): Peasley 10. Assists (22): Hermann 6. Steals (7): Hermann 2, Krogh 2. Blocks (4): Drew 2. Fouls: 10. 

North Polk (36) - Jaxon Rutledge 1 0-0 3, Dominic Bouchard 0 0-0 0, Jack Bunkers 0 0-0 0, Hunter Manock 1 0-0 3, Jackson Nemmers 2 0-0 4, Luke Maring 1 0-0 3, Austin Parkins 1 0-0 3, Jack Noble 0 0-0 0, Reggie Postel 0 0-0 0, Thomas Jones 0 0-0 0, Kole Krings 0 0-0 0, Marcus Haupert 1 0-0 2, Andrew Weig 0 0-0 0, Jevin Sullivan 4 7-8 18. Totals: 11 7-8 36. 3-point field goals (7): Sullivan 3, Rutledge, Manock, Maring, Parkins. Fouls: 7.    

HUXLEY - Ballard’s home game against Gilbert on Feb. 2 was special. 

The Bombers honored freshman Jaxon Hermann, who was in the hospital awaiting surgery for a heart condition, with a dominant 84-38 victory. 

Hermann was set to undergo heart surgery Tuesday to fix an anomalous coronary artery that is attached on the wrong side of his aorta. It has a slit opening and is pinched between the aorta and pulmonary artery. 

Hermann’s older brother Ashton is a starter for the Ballard boys’ basketball team. 

“It was an emotional night for me,” Ashton Hermann said. “Us guys coming together waving at the end of the first quarter - it really made me happy see everyone caring so much.” 

Hermann scored 15 points to help Ballard continue to impress as the No. 1 team in 3A. 

“Tonight was a special night,” Ballard head coach Jeff Schertz said. “Ever since I got the job here I’ve seen it pop up in various cases whether it’s the derecho this summer or especially with COVID our kids were doing whatever they could to help.” 

“Ashton and his grandparents brought the idea to me and we talked to the media guys and got that set up,” Schertz said. “Coach (B.J.) Terrones (of Gilbert) is pretty close with the Hermann family and so he was aware of Jaxon’s situation. When I called him and told him what we were doing it was a no-brainer – he said we’ll do whatever you’re doing.”   

Ballard improved to 15-1 overall and 12-1 in the Raccoon River Conference with the victory. The Bombers shot 54 % from the field, made 9 of 21 3-pointers and 21 of 25 free throws and only turned the ball over three times. 

“They are playing very, very well right now,” Terrones said of Ballard. “They play with such confidence and take care of the little things. They’re having fun out there and they’ve got it rolling.”  

Connor Drew led the Bombers with 16 points and eight rebounds. He said playing for Jaxon Hermann was the perfect way to open its reign as the top-ranked team in 3A. 

“This means a lot – the Ballard community, we all come together with everything,” Drew said. “We came together as a family and did it for Jaxon - he is going to make it through this.” 

Ballard once again got a huge night from its bench. Junior Jacob Ihle led the way with 13 points after making all three of his 3-point attempts and adding three rebounds. 

“I was struggling shooting the ball earlier - it was good to see a couple go in,” Ihle said. “I’m definitely getting in a groove.” 

Sam Petersen added 12 points and three assists off the bench. Petersen made all five of his field goals, including two 3-pointers. 

“Me and Sam, we’re the brats,” Ihle said. “We just try to do what we can do when we get in there.” 

Ballard senior Sam Petersen scored 12 points off the bench in the Bombers' victory over Gilbert Feb. 2.

Mason Murphy contributed nine points and seven assists, Isaiah Peasley eight points and three rebounds and Kale Krogh three points and two blocks. Colby Calvert added three points and four rebounds, Jayden Cattell three points and Kade Miller two points and three rebounds. 

Gilbert fell to 6-9 overall and 6-7 in the conference. Birk Hanson scored eight points, Easton Johnson seven, Trenton Forth six and Tanner Henningsen five for the Tigers. 

Ballard 84, Gilbert 38 

G     9     3    15   11 – 38 

B    22   27   14   21 – 84 

Gilbert (38) - Birk Hanson 2 2-2 8, Trenton Forth 3 0-0 6, Spencer Clatt 0 0-2 0, Owen Kautman 0 0-0 0, Jacob Papesh 0 0-0 0, Tanner Henningsen 2 0-0 5, Tate Hamer 0 0-0 0, Justin Terry 1 1-2 3, Alex Ruba 0 0-0 0, Owen O’Brien 1 0-0 2, Elliott Randall 2 0-0 5, Easton Johnson 3 1-4 7, Chris Zoz 1 0-0 2, Ethan Vesey 0 0-0 0, Jacob Kautman 0 0-0 0, Sean Burns 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 4-10 38. 3-point field goals (4): Hanson 2, Henningsen Randall. Fouls: 19. 

Ballard (84) - Mason Murphy 2-8 5-5 9, Isaiah Peasley 2-4 2-3 8, Ashton Hermann 5-13 4-4 15, Connor Drew 6-9 4-5 16, Kale Krogh 1-1 1-1 3, Alex Upah 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Petersen 5-5 0-0 12, Kyler Watson 0-0 0-0 0, Colby Calvert 1-3 1-1 3, Kade Miller 0-0 2-2 2, Jacob Ihle 4-5 2-2 13, Bryce Haessig 0-0 0-0 0, Jayden Cattell 1-2 0-2 3. Totals: 27-50 21-25 84. 3-point field goals (9): Ihle 3, Peasley 2, Petersen 2, Hermann, Cattell. Rebounds (28): Drew 8. Assists (20): Murphy 7. Steals (6): Hermann 3. Blocks (5): Krogh 2. Fouls: 7.