Retyped From Ames Tribune Staff Writer Joe Randleman
DES MOINES - For three minutes, No. 8 seed Ballard executed well against top-seed Norwalk in the Class 3A quarterfinals of the boys' state basketball tournament Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Then Norwalk star guard Bowen Born started breaking the Bombers down off the dribble and the Warriors got clicking from outside. Ballard never stood a chance after that, falling 81-39 in its first state appearance since 2005.
"We were throwing everything we could at them," Ballard head boys' basketball coach Chris Deason said. "We tried to play some zone, we tried to play some man, we tried to faceguard and tried to play straight up. It just wasn't to be tonight."
The score was tied at 6-6 at the five-minute, 18-second mark of the first quarter after Chase Winterboer and Connor Drew each hit a 3-pointer for Ballard. But then Norwalk went on a 15-0 run and by the end of the first quarter the Warriors had dropped 30 points on the Bombers.
Born carved up the Bomber defense for 23 points in the first half in helping his team build a 50-19 lead at the break. He finished with 40 points on an incredible 16 of 24 shooting night and also handed out four assists.
"He's phenomenal - easily the best player I've seen at the high school level," Huen said. "Some of those possessions you can't help but tip your cap because it's good defense, he just made a good shot. It's frustrating, but you've got to just keep playing."
Born had gone for 38 in the a season-opening meeting between the Warriors and Bombers. Ballard prevailed in that one, 69-66.
"Thirty-eight in a loss is nothing," Born said. "At the end of the day, you're just trying to win."
This time Norwalk got a lot more firepower out of its supporting cast and, more importantly, played much better defense - holding Ballard to 30-percent shooting from the field and nine free-throw attempts.
"The big difference I think was defense," Born said. "The practices before this we really focused on defense. It's just really locking up."
Tyler Johnson made 4 of 7 3-pointers and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds for Norwalk after shooting only 2 of 11 from the field in the first meeting between the two teams. Tyler Endres added eight points and 12 rebounds and Scott Anderson chipped in eight points on 3 of 3 shooting.
Norwalk shot an impressive 60 percent from the field on offense. The Warriors also made 50 percent of their 3-pointers, canned 15 of 16 free throw and doubled up Ballard on the glass, 38-19,
Norwalk heads into Thursday's semifinals with a 21-4 record.
The Bombers went through some adversity down the stretch with injuries and illness resulting in a 4-7 close to the regular season. But the leadership of six seniors pulled the team together at just the right time to return to the promised land for the first time in 14 years.
"Being around these guys for the last 10 years, I love every one of them," Deason said. I'm so glad they got to finish their careers at Wells. That's a huge deal - to be one of the eight teams left. Very proud of them."
Drew had 13 points and six rebounds and Isaiah Deason bowed out with 12 points and seven boards for Ballard against Norwalk. Max Olsan chipped in five points, Mason Murphy two points and three assists and Huen and fellow senior Seth Wohlgemuth two points apiece.
The Bombers end their season at 15-10 (7-7).
|Ballard (15-10, 7-7)
|Norwalk (21-4, 12-2)