High School Basketball

Unbeaten Ballard boys roll on, top Tilghman

It's understandable why Ballard's boys' basketball team was overlooked in some pre-season ratings.

It's hard to see a blur.

The rip-and-run, fire-away Bruins stayed undefeated by whipping Paducah Tilghman 86-77 in the Republic Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic on Monday afternoon.

Ballard had scoring bursts of 19-2 and 17-0 to take control of a game played at warp speed until it turned into a parade to the free-throw line in the last two minutes.

Is Coach Chris Renner surprised by the Bruins' 11-0 record?

"That would be an understatement," he said. "I'm shocked. A lot of people fail to realize how young we are."

Ballard, rated No. 18 in the Herald-Leader's pre-season poll, starts two freshmen (Quentin Snider and Kelan Martin) and a sophomore (Lavonne Holland), and another sophomore (Cam Lewis) is first off the bench.

But Renner also noted he thought the Bruins had a major plus in DeVante Parker.

"He played super for us this summer, and I realized he's a pretty darn good basketball player."

Parker, a star receiver in football who has committed to Louisville, was a role player on Ballard's Sweet Sixteen runner-up team last season that featured Keisten Jones and Ian Chiles.

Now Parker's a go-to-guy.

The 6-foot-3 senior bettered his season averages of 21 points and eight rebounds by getting 22 points, including five three-pointers, 12 rebounds and six steals against Tilghman.

Snider had 18 points and five assists, and Lewis had 16 points off the bench.

Renner said this might be the best offensive team he's had in his 13 years at Ballard.

The Bruins looked it when they turned a 22-10 deficit into a 29-24 lead midway through the first half against Tilghman.

Tornado Coach Brad Stieg said Ballard took advantage of Tilghman's Josh Forrest going to the bench with two fouls.

"It really hurt us because Josh has that athleticism to be able to handle the press better than some of our other kids."

Ballard delivered the knockout punch in the fourth quarter. After Tilghman (7-2) pulled to within 51-49, the Bruins went on a 17-0 run.

While Renner was happy with Ballard's offense, he didn't like its defense a bit.

"I'm getting tired of these 86-77, 100-96 games," he said. "We're giving up too many points. We have to improve defensively."

Tilghman, which was No. 14 in the pre-season, was led by Darrius Brown's 20 points and eight rebounds.

J.D. Harmon had 17 points.

Forrest, a 6-4 senior who has committed to play football as a wide receiver at Kentucky, had 10 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. He and Parker went flying against each other several times.

"You don't see that very often, two kids on the court who are such great athletes in two sports," Stieg said.

BALLARD (11-0)Parker 22, Snider 18, Holland 7, Lewis 16, Martin 9, Yackey 9, Byrd 2, Parrish 3.

PADUCAH TILGHMAN (7-2)Forrest 10, Edmonds 8, Harper 4, Cole 7, Harmon 17, Brown 20, Schultz 11.

Ballard 18 25 27 16—86

Paducah Tilghman 22 19 1 1 25—77

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