Having battled injuries and a rigorous schedule, Ballard High School boys’ basketball coach Chris Renner is pleased with his team’s progress through the first five weeks of the regular season.
“Could we have done better at this point? I guess,” Renner said. “But the level of competition we’ve played has been incredible. This might be one of the toughest schedules we’ve had since I’ve been at Ballard.”
The Bruins are 11-3, including a 6-0 mark against Kentucky competition. They won the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale before Christmas and finished fourth in the prestigious Whataburger Tournament held Dec. 26-28 in Fort Worth, Texas.
And it’s no surprise Ballard came in at No. 1 in the state in the first Courier-Journal Litkenhous Ratings released Monday.
“We only have three seniors, but with those three and a lot of juniors we have a veteran group,” Renner said. “They’ve been able to deal with some of the adversity and travel and all the games we’ve played. They’ve handled it like a veteran group should.”
Covington Catholic (10-0) is No. 2 in the Litratings, followed by Trinity (10-2), Newport Central Catholic (10-3) and Scott County (11-2).
Other Louisville-area teams in the Top 20 are No. 8 Pleasure Ridge Park (10-4), No. 10 Iroquois (10-2), No. 17 South Oldham (10-2) and No. 19 Jeffersontown (6-6).
The Litratings rank every team in the state using a formula based on record, strength of schedule and other factors. Games against out-of-state opponents are not included.
Ballard has prospered behind two of the state’s top seniors in guard Quentin Snider (University of Louisville signee) and forward Kelan Martin (Butler signee).
“They’ve performed incredibly,” Renner said. “Those two have really taken us on their backs and done a great jot to this point. They definitely have exceeded my expectations.”
The Bruins also have dealt with the absence of junior forward Corey Douglas, who was expected to be a starter but has missed the past three weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. Renner said Douglas is scheduled to see a doctor today and could be cleared to play. Freshman guard Jamil Wilson also missed several games with concussion symptoms.
Renner said his team also has faced a lack of practice time because of a stretch of eight games in nine days from Dec. 20-28. The Bruins also face a stretch of four games in four days starting Wednesday when they host Kentucky Country Day before traveling to St. Louis to face Christian Brothers College High on Thursday, playing at Waggener on Friday and facing Noblesville (Ind.) Guerin Catholic at Freedom Hall on Saturday.
The Bruins will open play in the Louisville Invitational Tournament on Jan. 15.
“The good thing is that we’ll finally have a break after the LIT,” Renner said. “We haven’t had a full practice with everybody since before Thanksgiving. So after the LIT we’ll have some time off and some time to work on some things.”
Second-ranked Covington Catholic is among three unbeaten teams left in the state, joining No. 12 Wayne County (13-0) and No. 13 Montgomery County (14-0).
CovCath is scheduled to play at No. 9 Holmes (9-1) today in a matchup of Ninth Region powers. Montgomery County will host Wayne County on Jan. 25 in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic.
The first girls’ Litratings of the season will be released Thursday.