By Bucky Beaver
The Ballard boys basketball team coming into Friday afternoon’s game knew they needed a win for their season to continue. They also knew they were going against a team that handed them a thrashing earlier in the year. Both Newport and Ballard came to play.
The game was close throughout, with Ballard only having the lead early in the first quarter. The Beavers were down three at the half and two after three quarters. The Beavers were able to tie the game at the end of regulation on some clutch shooting. Ballard had a three point lead with 8 seconds left in the first four-minute overtime when Newport drained a deep, off-balance 3-pointer over two Ballard defenders at the buzzer to tie the game. Ballard and Newport entered and left the second overtime tied. Newport got up early in the third overtime and hit their free throws in the end to hold on to the victory. Newport won 59 to 55 in the two hour battle. Newport advances to play Tuesday while Ballard’s season is over. Ballard was led by juniors Seth Berger with 22 points and 7 rebounds and Johnny Verduin with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. Seniors Domisi Thrash contributed 9 points and 7 rebounds and Luke Beutjer contributed 4 points and 8 rebounds.
Ballard finishes the season with a 10-12 overall record and 8-7 in conference play making the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. The Beavers finished as the strongest defensive team in the league holding opponents to 36 percent from the field. Juniors Seth Berger finished the season 11th in the conference in scoring with 15 points per game (ppg), Johnny Verduin finished 17th at 11.8 ppg, and Stuart MacGeorge was 24th at 9.6 ppg. Seth was 2nd in the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game (rpg) and Johnny was 10th with 6.8 rpg. Senior Brad Baker was 11th in the league in assists per game (apg) and junior Nate Rauda was 14 at 2.4 apg. The Beavers will lose some key seniors including Brad Baker, Luke Beutjer, Domisi Thrash, Jake Devine and Hudson Style but do return a solid core to rebuild around. (Photo of Seniors Luke Beutjer and Domisi Thrash courtesy Ballard Athletics.)