DP got to this consolation semi-final after a heart-breaking one-point loss to North Little Rock in the first round and then taking out their collective frustrations on local school Charlotte. Ballard advanced by way of losing to IMG in their opener and advanced to this game after Berkmar of Georgia had to drop out due to a non-COVID related illness sweeping through the team.
Ballard got on the board first with a three-pointer from 6’1 senior Kaden Stanton. Ernest Udeh, a 6’10 senior put DP in the book with a bucket inside. Maker Bar, a 6’9 senior gave Ballard a 5-3 lead with a basket at the rim. The Panthers of DP then responded with seven straight points as 6’3 senior Denzel Aberdeen hit three free throws, 6’4 sophomore Jordan Tillery scored inside and 6’5 senior Riley Kugel threw down a lob. With 4:25 to play in the quarter, DP led 9-5. Ballard hit one of two free throws but DP wasn’t done. Kugel hit a pair of free throws and Udeh once again scored inside to make it a 13-6 ball game. Maker scored inside for Ballard but a slam inside by Udeh and a transition basket from Aberdeen gave Dr. Phillips a 17-8 lead after one quarter of play.
After a basket from Ballard’s 6’5 junior Gabe Sisk opened the second quarter, DP erupted with a capital “RUPT”, going on a 19-2 run as Ballard had trouble figuring out the match-up zone of the Panthers. What was a seven point ball game, 17-10, with 7:09 to play in the half was now a 36-12 DP advantage with just over three minutes to play. Ballard got things working a bit better after a time out, getting the lead under twenty with less than a minute to play. Still, it wasn’t enough and DP led at the break 41-23.
Ballard began to chip away at the DP lead, scoring the first four points of the third quarter. A three by Kugel of DP got the Panthers on the board. For the rest of the quarter, every time Ballard made a run, the Panthers were able to answer. Ballard got to within twelve, 46-34, with just over four minutes left in the quarter but DP pushed their advantage to 60-47 with one quarter left to play.
Things got very interesting from there. DP scored inside to open the period but Ballard scored five straight points to get within ten, 62-52. Udeh put back a miss for DP but a pair of threes and a converted a three point play to get within three(!) at 64-61. DP was having trouble handling the Ballard pressure and struggled with turnovers. After a DP timeout, they got themselves back in order. The Panthers went on a 11-0 run as Ballard began to feel the time crunch and missed several threes which DP was unable to turn into points. DP built their lead back to double digits to win by thirteen, 77-64.
DP was led by both Aberdeen and Udeh with 23 points each. Kugel finished with 17 points.
For Ballard, Keno Hayden had 11 points and Bar had 12 points.