Bombers Rebound From All A Loss
By Tim Taylor
A week after the Ballard Memorial Bombers knocked the Hickman County Falcons out of the All A Tournament, the two teams met up again. This time the two teams competed at the Green Palace in Barlow with similar results. The Bombers defeated the Falcons in the All A by five, and their second meeting on January 27th saw the Big Green claim the eight point victory. TJ Wray had a strong first half for the Bombers scoring nine points during the opening 16 minutes of play. This allowed the Bombers to build a seven point advantage at the intermission. Ballard Memorial got some clutch shots in pressure situations in the opening half as Dre Bledsoe hit a three pointer with one second remaining in the first quarter. Clay Newton followed that up with a late basket just before the halftime buzzer to put the Bombers up 27-20 at the break.
Both teams struggled in the second half on the offensive end. Halfway through the third quarter, Hickman County had only hit two free throws and that was all the scoring from either team to that point. Cody Newton changed that. He got an offensive rebound put back and was fouled with 3:55 remaining in the third. He completed the old fashion three point play and shortly after, he gave the Bombers their biggest lead with a bucket to push the advantage to 32-22. Just like last week, the Falcons would not go away as they cut the lead to one. And once again, they could never get over the hump. Hickman County cut the lead to 40-39 early in the third, and that is when Clay Newton took over. He knocked down a three pointer from the right wing to push the lead to 43-39. Clay scored nine of the Bombers final 13 points, include going three of four from the charity stripe, to help Ballard Memorial escape with the 53-45 victory. "We won the game and that's the ultimate goal when you play, but there were a lot of negatives," said Bomber Coach Matt Botner. Clay Newton led the team with 13 points while Keagan Cooper and Wray both added 11. Cody Newton finished with eight, Lee Chandler scored five, Bledsoe contributed three, and Zach Parson added two. "We got stops when we needed to and we got some big buckets and hit free throws," said Botner. The Bombers hit 12 of 14 free throws to seal the win while the Falcons only connected on 13 of 22 from the free throw line.
The Bombers made it five wins in their last six contests on Thursday night as the Bombers defeated the Fulton County Pilots 68-61. Parsons and Cody Newton controlled the first quarter for the Bombers as they scored 14 of Ballard Memorial's 18 points in the opening period. This allowed Ballard Memorial to open up an 18-11 lead after one quarter of play. The Bombers stretched the lead to 28-19 before the wheels fell off. The Pilots scored the next 15 points in the game to take the 34-28 lead. The Pilots flew to the 35-31 advantage at the break. The Bomber's defense locked down the Pilots in the third quarter. Fulton County hit a three and two point field goal early in the third. The Pilots Andreous Smith canned another trey to push the lead to 43-38, but those were the last points in the quarter for Fulton County. Cooper hit only his second shot in the game, but it was a timely three point shot, to start a 9-0 run. This allowed the Bombers to take the 47-43 advantage heading into the final quarter. Clay Newton is quietly becoming the fourth quarter clutch performer for the Bombers. He scored 8 of his 15 points in the final quarter to help secure the Bomber victory. The lead actually reached double figures for Ballard Memorial before the Pilots caused some late Bomber turnovers to cut the final to 68-61. This was the third Bomber victory over Fulton County this season and the Bombers were really consistent in their scoring in all three games. The Bombers scored 70 points in each of their prior two meetings with the Pilots and the Bombers scored 68 in the teams' final scheduled game with each other this season. The victory improved the Bombers to 13-10 on the season while the Pilots fell to 9-13. "I like that we are getting challenged," said Botner, but he added, "I don't like the way that it's happening in the sense that we're not playing up to the level we should be playing." Cody Newton scored 21 points off the bench to lead the Bombers while his brother Clay had 15 and Parsons added 14. Bomber' leading scorer on the season, Cooper, was limited to six points, while Bledsoe also added six. Chandler finished with four. Toler Terrell, who returned to the lineup after not playing in the last four games due to an illness, added two. The Bombers try to continue their winning ways as they host Mayfield on Friday night, February 6th for Homecoming at the Green Palace. Ballard Memorial will then play at Livingston Central on Saturday the 7th before hosting their last regular season district game on Tuesday night the 10th against Graves County.