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Good first half not enough for Ballard boys

Ballard’s Mason Jensen goes up over Dallas Center-Grimes’ Max Balzer for a layup during the first half of the Bombers’ game with the No. 6 Mustangs (Class 3A) Dec. 17 in Huxley. Photo by Joe Randleman
Ballard’s Mason Jensen goes up over Dallas Center-Grimes’ Max Balzer for a layup during the first half of the Bombers’ game with the No. 6 Mustangs (Class 3A) Dec. 17 in Huxley. Photo by Joe Randleman

HUXLEY – For one half, the Ballard boys’ basketball team gave No. 6 (Class 3A) Dallas Center-Grimes a good fight.

But the Bomber defense struggled to contain the Mustang trio of Austin Rix, Nick Drucker and Andrew Kramer in the third quarter, and as result DCG blew the game open en route to handing the Bombers a 78-58 loss Dec. 17 at Huxley.

Ballard only trailed 34-31 at the half. The Bombers hung tough, thanks to good 3-point shooting and the aggressive play of guard Mason Jensen, who hit 8 of 11 free throws and scored 15 points over the opening two quarters.

But in the third quarter, the Mustangs corralled Jensen and exploded on offense, netting 30 points in the third to build a comfortable 18-point cushion.

Standing at 6-8, Rix overpowered the much-smaller Bomber front line inside. Rix scored 20 points after making 7 of 11 field goals and 6 of 8 free throws, and he also pulled down seven rebounds and blocked four shots.

Drucker and Kramer hurt Ballard off the dribble all game. They combined for 35 points on 16 of 22 shooting from the field and they dished out 13 assists.

Drucker had 18 points, eight assists, four rebounds three steals and one block. Kramer finished with 17 points, five assists, four steals, four rebounds and one block.

As a team DCG shot an incredible 68 percent from the field.

“It’s a challenge for us to guard inside right now,” Ballard head coach Chris Deason said. “(DCG) exposed some of our weaknesses. Now we’ve just got to work at getting better at those.”

The loss put Ballard at 3-3 on the season. All three Bomber setbacks have come against ranked teams.

“We competed in all three of those games,” Deason said. “That’s going to make our young guys that much better.”

Ballard saw most of its success against DCG come when it was connecting from outside. The Bombers shot just 36 percent from the field, but they were 11 of 25 from 3-point range.

Jensen led Ballard with 20 points. He was 5 of 10 from the field, 1 of 2 from 3-point range and 9 of 12 from the line and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Sophomores Jaden Moody and Kolby Jensen both hit 3 of 5 3-pointers for Ballard. Moody finished with 11 points and three rebounds and Kolby tallied 10 points and four assists.

Mason Edwards added seven points and nine rebounds and Jacob Nethers contributed six points, four assists and three rebounds for the Bombers.

DCG improved to 5-1 with the win. In addition to the great production out of Rix, Drucker and Kramer, the Mustangs received 12 points from Chaz Chambers and six points and eight rebounds out of Doug Heritage.

DCG 78, Ballard 58

DCG 15 19 30 14 – 78

B 14 17 15 12 – 58

DCG (78) – Blake Borchers 1-1 0-0 2, Andrew Kramer 8-11 1-3 17, Nick Drucker 8-11 1-2 18, Travis Ondler 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Jaspering 0-0 0-0 0, Chaz Chambers 5-8 1-1 12, Trey Washington 1-2 0-0 3, Doug Heritage 2-4 0-0 6, Connor Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Winter 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Rix 7-11 6-8 20, Max Balzer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 32-47 9-14 78. 3-point field goals (5): Heritage 2, Drucker, Chambers, Washington. Rebounds (28): Heritage 8. Assists (19): Drucker 8. Steals (8): Kramer 4. Blocks (7): Rix 4.

Ballard (58) – Kolby Jensen 3-6 1-4 10, Nathan Carlin 0-5 0-0 0, Jacob Nethers 2-8 0-0 6, Jaden Moody 3-5 2-2 11, Tanner Petersen 0-1 0-0 0, Mason Jensen 5-10 9-12 20, Mason Edwards 3-11 0-0 7, Chase Siebert 0-0 1-2 1, Nick Hartman 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 17-47 13-20 58. 3-point field goals (11): K. Jensen 3, Moody 3, Nethers 2, M. Jensen, Edwards, Hartman. Rebounds (27): Edwards 9. Assists (12): K. Jensen 4, Nethers 4. Steals (4): M. Jensen 2. Blocks: None.

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