By Bucky Beaver
For the first time since 1997 both the Ballard High School’s girls and boys basketball teams are going to the playoffs. Kingco consistently year in and year out is the toughest conference in the state in both boys and girls basketball. This is the fifth year in a row for the boy’s program and the first time in five years for the girl’s team.
Both programs open Kingco Conference tournament play at Inglemoor High School. The boys play Tuesday February 5th at 7:30 pm; the girls play Wednesday February 6th also at 7:30 pm. Win or lose the boys play again on Friday and the girls play again on Saturday.
The Kingco tournament is a double elimination tournament. First and second place teams advance to the regional round of the state playoffs. The third place team hosts the third place team from the Wesco Conference with the winner advancing to the regional round of the state playoffs.
The boy’s team ended the regular season with a record of 14 wins and 7 loses (9-6 in conference play) improving on their 10-12 overall and 8-7 conference records from last year. The Beavers are led in scoring by seniors Seth Berger (15.5 points per game (ppg), 8.2 rebounds per game (rpg)), Johnny Verduin (12.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) Raymond Owens (7.7 ppg, 3 assists per game (apg)), and Stuart MacGeorge (7.2 ppg).
Ballard boys had a number of regular season conference leaders including Berger and Verduin who both finished in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding, MacGeorge who finished in the top 5 in 3 point field goals made, and Owens who finished in the top 10 in assists. The boys are graduating a number of seniors who have contributed significantly over the years at Ballard including Berger, Verduin, MacGeorge, Owens, Nate Rauda, Carl Pearson, Thomas Christensen, Kemal Deger and Will Leonard.
The girls team finished the regular season with a record of 12-9 (8-7 in conference play). This year’s win total equaled the victories in the last three years combined and doubled the amount from last season. The girls are led in scoring by juniors Beverly Verduin (12.5 ppg, 3.3 apg), Nancy MacGeorge (12.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Shelby Bailess (7.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg), and Imani Bender (5.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and seniors Sam Hall (5.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Riley Soukup (4.6 ppg).
The Ballard girls also had a number of conference leaders including Verduin who was in the top 5 in scoring and assists and number one in 3 point field goals, MacGeorge who was in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding, and Hall who was in the top 10 in rebounding. Ballard graduates two seniors this year—Soukup and Hall who have been part of the girls program for all four years.
Good luck in the playoffs to both teams!
Click here to follow the playoff action on Ballard High School’s Twitter account.