LEXINGTON, Ky. – Elizabethtown dictated the pace easily defeating Louisville Ballard 69-53 in the KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 semifinals.
Elizabethtown (22-2) shot out to a 21-10 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to outstanding shooting from Camden Williams from beyond the arc. Williams was 3-for-5 from long range in the opening stanza for nine points.
Despite being clearly being the smaller team, Elizabethtown was able to overcome the size disadvantage and force their style of play on both ends of the court.
Ballard (21-3) committed five turnovers in the first quarter and an uncharacteristic 19 for the game including seven from Chaunte Marrero.
Elizabethtown’s pressure defense was able to hold Ballard’s Gabe Sisk to a season-low three points on 1-for-5 shooting. Sisk went into the Sweet 16 averaging a team-best 18.6 points per game.
The Panthers jumped out to a 30-13 lead at the 4:53 mark of the second quarter, but the Bruins finally woke from their hibernation to close out the half on a 15-5 run.
Any hopes of a comeback win for Ballard were ended quickly as Elizabethtown used a monstrous 14-0 run to start the second half thanks to the play of the Panthers on defense forcing the Bruins into five turnovers during the run.
Ballard didn’t score in the third quarter until D.J. Tilford knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:08 to go in the quarter.
Elizabethtown had its best shooting quarter in the third while Ballard easily had its worst. The Panthers were 7-for-11 for 63.6 percent from the field while the Bruins were just 3-for-8 for 37.5 percent.
The fourth quarter never saw Ballard get to within single digits as Elizabethtown coasted to the win despite being outrebounded 33-22.
Jaquais Franklin led all scorers with 19 points, tied for a team-high five rebounds and had a game-high six assists.
Alandre Murphy, Kam Sherrard and Khia Sherrard scored 13 points each while fellow start Williams closed out the scoring with 11 points.
Maker Bar led Ballard with a 14-point, 15-rebound double-double.
Marrero was the only other double-digits Bruins’ scorer with 13.
Elizabethtown advances to tonight’s state championship game where the Panthers will face the winner of Highlands and Ashland Blazer.