As Clivonte Patterson continues to mature off the court, the Ballard High School boys basketball team is improving on the court.
The 6-foot-3 junior had one of his best performances of the season Wednesday, posting 21 points and eight rebounds as the Bruins beat Waggener 67-57 on Wednesday in the second round of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament at Valley.
Patterson was the leader of Ballard’s junior-varsity squad last season, but Bruins coach Chris Renner said he could have been a varsity contributor were it not for off-the-court issues.
MORE COVERAGE | Photo gallery from Ballard-Waggener
Patterson said he struggled academically and also could not meet a requirement of running a sub-six-minute mile.
“I was lazy,” Patterson said. “I couldn’t make my mile, so I couldn’t play. I know my potential and that I could have been doing better than what I was doing. I wasn’t proving it in class. My grades were terrible. I just had to turn things around.”
Patterson sat out the first semester of this season as he got his grades in order and now is becoming a force for the Bruins (10-6). Patterson’s father, Trent Coward, helped Eastern win the state title in 1997 and was named Sweet 16 MVP.
“He’s an intriguing player because he can take guys off the dribble,” Renner said. “He’s a lefty, and lefties sometimes have a unique game. He can finish at the rim, and he’s crafty. He has the ability to hit mid-range as well as 3s. I hope he keeps getting better and better.”
Brian Alvey hit 4 of 8 3-point tries and scored 16 points for the Bruins. Jamil Wilson added 14 points and four assists as Ballard advanced to face Fern Creek in Friday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal.
Jacquess Hobbs scored 22 points and Isiah Knight 15 for Waggener (9-7), which trailed 19-4 after the first quarter and spent the rest of the contest trying to claw back.
“We had a good shoot-around, but when we got out here we just kind of went flat,” coach Bryan O’Neill said. “We have to get better. I have to figure it out. … We had a few guys who just weren’t ready today.”
Patterson had a pair of 3-point plays and scored 10 points to lead Ballard’s first-quarter surge. The Bruins led 39-16 at halftime after hitting 16 of 27 shots (59.3 percent).
“Our hot start was not just about shooting the basketball,” Renner said. “I thought our intensity defensively and just making the right plays offensively was huge. But for as well as we played in the first half, we played equally as bad in the second half.”
Ballard took its largest lead, 45-21, early in the third quarter before Waggener rallied, pulling within 58-50 on Jaalam Hill’s free throw with 3:20 remaining.
But Wilson and Patterson both answered with jumpers during a quick 5-1 run that pushed Ballard’s lead to 63-51 with 1:25 left. Waggener never got closer than seven points the rest of the way and dropped to 0-68 all-time against Ballard.
“I’m happy our kids didn’t quit, but it’s kind of a double-edged sword,” O’Neill said. “It’s easy to play from behind. We have to come out ready to go from the start.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAGGENER 4 12 19 22 – 57
BALLARD 19 20 12 16 – 67
Waggener (9-7) – Kirby 6, Hill 4, Taylor 2, Hobbs 22, Knight 15, Chappell 2, Kratholm 6.
Ballard (10-6) – Douglas 8, Patterson 21, Tisby 2, Alvey 16, Wimberly 4, Wilson 14, Ramsey 2.
3-point goals – Knight 3; Alvey 4.