Sweet 16 preview | Ballard-Taylor County

Sweet 16 preview | Ballard-Taylor County

Gallery

Sweet 16 preview | Ballard-Taylor County

Ballard forward Clivonte Patterson drives to the basket between Christian Academy of Louisville forward Milton Wright and Christian Academy of Louisville guard Parker Jones in the KHSAA 7th Region Boys Basketball Championship. 06 March 2017

Ballard forward Clivonte Patterson drives to the basket between Christian Academy of Louisville forward Milton Wright and Christian Academy of Louisville guard Parker Jones in the KHSAA 7th Region Boys Basketball Championship. 06 March 2017

GAME 6: BALLARD VS. TAYLOR COUNTY, 1:30 P.M. THURSDAY

BALLARD

Coach: Chris Renner.

Record: 28-6.

Nickname: Bruins.

Location: Louisville.

Region: Seventh.

Enrollment: 1,943.

Litkenhous Rating: 102.3 (No. 6 in state).

Sweet 16 trips: 17th (33-13).

Last trip to State: 2015 (lost to Boyle County 85-70 in quarterfinals).

What to look for: It’s been an up-and-down season for Renner’s team, but the longtime coach may have his Bruins peaking at just the right point. They’ve won six straight games, with a focus on defense and quickness. In the Seventh Region semifinal last week, they limited Trinity to just 36.4 percent shooting, more than 15 percentage points below the Shamrocks’ seasonal average. Ballard battled the injury bug through the middle of the season, and those injuries had an impact on the Bruins’ three losses to Fern Creek in the regular season.

Key player: Though he’s just 6-foot-4, senior forward Clivonte Patterson can pose problems for opponents anywhere on the court. Not only is he the Bruins’ leading scorer, but he also leads the team in rebounds. What gives teams the most fits is that the Seventh Region Player of the Year is left-handed. “Vonnie has the ability to score in different ways,” Renner said. “He can score from the perimeter. He can score mid-range, and he can score at the basket. Vonnie’s also a relentless rebounder. He’s a tremendous offensive rebounder who just has a knack for putting the basket.”

Coach-speak: “This Ballard team on paper is not one of the strongest teams I’ve taken to the state tournament,” Renner said. “When we get to Rupp Arena, people who are used to seeing some of the previous Ballard teams, we’re not going to wow you with our physical appearance or with our size or how we jump out of the gym. But, you know, sometimes it’s hard to judge a racehorse by its body. It’s hard to judge a fighter by his physique.”

STARTERS

23-Clivonte Patterson

6-4, Sr., 17.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg

22-Jamil Wilson

5-9, Sr., 13.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg

10-Dorian Tisby

6-2, Jr., 9.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg

4-Marshon Ford

6-2, Jr., 8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg

14-Antoine Darby

5-11, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

KEY RESERVES

3-Kereion Douglas

6-2, Jr., 3.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg

1-Tyrese Duncan

5-10, Jr., 3.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg

5-Tyron Duncan

5-10, Jr., 6.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg

21-Delonta Wimberly

6-3, Jr., 6.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg

25-Orlando Higginbottom

6-0, Sr., 1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg

ALSO: Boys Sweet 16 by the numbers

MORE: Here’s the bracket for the Boys Sweet 16

MORE: Who’s Sweet 16 favorite? Coaches make picks

TAYLOR COUNTY

Coach: Maze Stallworth.

Record: 20-14.

Nickname: Cardinals.

Location: Campbellsville.

Region: Fifth.

Enrollment: 851.

Litkenhous Rating: 80.7.

Sweet 16 trips: Eighth (3-7).

Last trip to State: 2016 (lost to Doss 69-58 in quarterfinals).

What to look for: No Quentin Goodin? No David Sloan? No problem. The Cardinals earned their third straight Fifth Region title under first-year coach Maze Stallworth, who went to the Sweet 16 as a player for John Hardin before playing at Morehead State. After losing seven of their last 11 to close out the regular season, the Cardinals won four of their five games in the postseason to get back to Lexington. In the Fifth Region final, they used a seven-point possession midway through the fourth quarter to get a 67-66 victory over Adair County, a team that had beaten them three times earlier in the season. Senior Dylan Gaines missed the last 12 games with a strained right thumb ligament. His cast recently came off, and Stallworth said it’ll be a game-time decision if he’ll play this week.

Key player: Senior Ezra Oliver, a three-year starter, has gone from being a role player to the Cardinals’ go-to guy. While the 6-1 senior is also an all-district football player, Oliver’s going to college on a fishing scholarship, as he only plays basketball during the season. “Guys like him kind of get lost in the shuffle, but the kid can play,” Stallworth said.

Coach-speak: “My goal going into (the season) was not to break the standard because after you win two in a row, that becomes the standard. That’s what you want. That’s what you feed off of. That’s what drives the program,” Stallworth said.

STARTERS

24-Ezra Oliver

6-1, Sr., 18.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg

2-DeJhon Irvin

5-10, So., 8.3ppg, 3.0 rpg

5-TreVon Smith

6-3, So., 17.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg

23-Austin Ellis

6-3, Jr., 7.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg

20-Grant McQueary

6-3, So., 2.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg

KEY RESERVES

14-Dylan Gaines

6-5, Sr., 12.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg

30-Nick Knifley

5-10, Fr., 2.2 ppg, 0.4 rpg

-Steve Bittenbender

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports
Home