Ballard and Etown move into sweet 16 semis

Both area teams into the state basketball final four

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A pair of area teams will meet in the semifinals of the Boys Sweet 16 on Saturday morning at Rupp Arena. Seventh Region champion Ballard and Fifth Region winner Elizabethtown both led nearly from start to finish in winning their quarterfinal games Friday. 

Ballard beat Bowling Green for the second time this season, 61-53. Elizabethtown beat George Rogers Clark, 65-44.

Both are 21-2 on the season.

Ballard had everything going its way in the opening quarter. Gabe Sisk hit a couple of threes and had eight points as the Bruins led 14-2 with 3:15 to go. Bowling Green then responded with a 17-2 run to grab a brief three-point lead. 

The Bruins got the lead back by halftime and pushed that four-point advantage to five after three quarters and held off the Purples in the fourth quarter. 

Sisk led the scoring with 22 on 4-9 shooting from three-point range. Keno Hayden had 14 and Chaunte Marrero 13. Ballard held BG to just 32% shooting and Maker Bar had six blocks to go with his seven rebounds.   

"We punched 'em in the mouth early," Ballard coach Chris Renner said. ''And then they punched us back, and we went through a stretch where we were not good and efficient offensively. But in the second half, we did what we needed to do to make the winning plays to move on to the final four Saturday."  

Elizabethtown raced out to an 8-0 lead and never trailed in its win over George Rogers Clark. The Panthers led by 13 at halftime and 11 after three quarters. The Cardinals never got closer than nine in the second half. 

Jacquais Franklin scored nine straight points in an 11-0 second quarter burst to give EHS a 14-point advantage. He made 9-11 shots for 22 points and added eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Alandre Murphy made 10-11 shots for 21 points and had six rebounds. 

The veteran Panthers spread the floor and got to the basket, sharing the ball for 17 assists and 48 points in the paint.  

"You say how unselfish these guys are," Elizabethtown coach James Haire said. "I've got a picture of them in the same kindergarten class, and the other one was next door. So they've been together for a long time. I'm always impressed with them. They work hard. They do make me a little bit nervous at times, but they do work hard, and I'm very pleased about that."

Elizabethtown and Ballard meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at Rupp. The winner moves on to the final Saturday night at 8 p.m.  

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