The Doss and Ballard boys basketball programs both faced rebuilding projects after winning regional championships last season, and on Tuesday the Dragons showed they’re further along in the process in the second week of the season.
Cam Maddox scored 24 points, Kenyi Bryant had 19 and Kel’Shawn Knight-Goff added 17 as the host Dragons whipped Ballard 93-71.
Doss returned just one starter from last season’s team that lost in the Sweet 16 quarterfinals and was ranked No. 6 in the Sixth Region in a preseason poll of coaches.
PHOTO GALLERY | Ballard at Doss boys basketball
“I’m encouraged,” said Doss coach Tony Williams, whose team improved to 2-1. “I know our ceiling is still way up there.”
The Dragons built a 14-point lead midway through the second quarter, gave up the lead in the third quarter and then outscored the Bruins 34-15 in the fourth to pull away.
Doss used a relentless defense to convert turnovers into several easy baskets, something Maddox said wasn’t the case in a 76-64 loss to Fern Creek on Friday.
“After the Fern Creek loss we figured out that (slowing it down) wasn’t the way to go,” Maddox said “We just had to push the pace and get what we can get and try to draw a foul.”
Junior guard Jamil Wilson, Ballard’s only returning starter from last year’s Sweet 16 quarterfinal team, scored 27 points to lead the Bruins (2-2) on Tuesday.
A prolific 3-point shooting team in recent seasons, Ballard made just one against Doss.
“We’re probably going to lose quite a few battles this year, but our goal is to win the war at the end of the year,” said Bruins coach Chris Renner, whose team was ranked No. 9 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches. “This is tough to swallow, but our older guys haven’t been in this position. The guys who have been role players have to learn how to be better leaders, and the young guys have to learn to be better role players.”
Maddox’s 3-pointer gave Doss a 37-23 lead with 4:05 left in the second quarter before a 13-1 run pulled Ballard within 38-36 at halftime.
Wilson’s two free throws tied it at 56 with 4.7 seconds left in the third before Laron Hargrove hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Dragons a 59-56 lead.
“There was a lot of luck involved in that, but there’s a lot of luck involved in the game,” Williams said. “You need luck in order to be successful. That was a momentum builder. It got our team a little bit hyped going into the fourth quarter.”
Doss scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to take control, with Maddox capping the run with a basket for a 67-56 lead at the 6:44 mark.
Maddox, a junior, sat out last season after transferring from Eastern.
“He has an unbelievable belief in himself,” Williams said. “He’s as good as any player in the state in his mind. A lot of times that works against him, but he’s growing into who he will be.”
Brian Alvey’s 3-pointer pulled the Bruins within 67-59 with 6:40 left, but that’s as close as they would get the rest of the game.
Renner is hopeful his team will get a boost later this month when junior forward Clivonte Patterson becomes eligible.
“That changes us big-time,” Renner said. “At the same time, we have guys right now whose weaknesses are being exposed.”
Williams said his team is using the low preseason expectations as motivation.
“People don’t like to rank us very high … but we don’t want to be ranked,” he said. “We want to stay the underdogs and sneak up on people.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
BALLARD 16 20 20 15 – 71
DOSS 27 11 21 34 – 93
Ballard (2-2) – Wimberly 9, Alvey 9, Douglas 6, Wilson 27, Tyron Duncan 6, Darby 4, Snider 1, Ramsey 9.
Doss (2-1) – Maddox 24, Franklin 9, Hargrove 9, Roberson 2, Bryant 19, Anderson 4, Hall 7, Downs 2, K. Knight-Goff 17.
3-point goals – Alvey; Maddox 3, Hargrove, Bryant.