The Ballard High School boys’ basketball team has plenty of weapons on offense, but coach Chris Renner liked what he saw on defense Friday night.
The Bruins converted 20 Eastern turnovers into 27 points and had four players score in double figures on their way to a 72-43 rout in the quarterfinals of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
“We got some easy buckets tonight, and that helped,” Renner said. “I still think we took some tough shots, but we also have guys who can hit tough shots.”
Anthony Eaves scored 18 points to lead Ballard (15-2), which is No. 2 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings. The Bruins will face the Trinity-Central winner in Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. semifinal.
Renner said Eaves – a senior transfer from Greensboro, N.C. – still is getting comfortable with the Bruins’ system.
“He clearly is a key piece to what we do,” Renner said. “He’s learning our terminology. He’s playing a different style than he’s used to playing, and he’s having a different role.”
Jalen Perry (17 points, seven rebounds), Brian Alvey (14 points) and Corey Douglas (12 points, six rebounds) also had big games for the Bruins. Alvey finished 4 of 4 from 3-point range.
Trey Moses and Cameron Reed both scored 10 points to lead Eastern (13-3), which shot just 38.1 percent. Eagles coach David Henley said Ballard’s “defense takes you out of what you want to run.”
“We don’t want to come down and make one pass and a shot or no passes and a shot,” Henley said. “Everybody in the world knows that’s exactly what Ballard wants you to do. We just weren’t very good at that, and part of that is Ballard puts so much pressure on you.”
Eastern opened the third quarter with a 5-0 run to pull within 36-28 before Ballard put the game away. Alvey hit two 3-pointers and Perry scored four points during a 14-4 run that made it 50-32.
The Eagles pulled within 57-43 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bruins scored the final 15 points of the game.
Renner questioned his team’s chemistry after Wednesday’s 66-56 victory over Male but was encouraged by Friday’s performance.
“We just talked about communication and being unselfish and sharing the ball,” Douglas said. “We had to work together. … We wanted to pressure them and take their confidence away.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
Eastern (13-3) – Reed 10, Harden 5, Moore 7, Jones 9, Williams 2, Moses 10.
Ballard (15-2) – Douglas 12, Eaves 18, Alvey 14, Perry 17, Wilson 2, Ramsey 7, Smith.
3-point goals – Reed 2, Moore, Jones, Moses; Douglas, Eaves 2, Alvey 4.