Photos by Kurt Howard
All hands on ball as both teams go for a rebound. CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE OR SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE

SLIDESHOW: Ballard wins Les Schwab Chistmas Classic

BURIEN - Ballard controlled the tempo early and kept the pace throughout in a 53-38 victory against John F. Kennedy Catholic in the boys division championship game of the 2012 Les Schwab Christmas Classic tournament held at Kennedy High School on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Winning this tournament reaped timely benefits for the Ballard contingent.

"It was fun to come here," said Beaver head coach Billy Rodgers. "I'm proud of our team. We came and won three games, focusing on three different styles of teams. The team made nice adjustments. Each game a new leader stepped up. The seniors stepped up well. Nate Ravda was a great player who is often not noticed. He had great defense. Our team lost three games in a row (before the tournament). They really wanted to win a tournament."

Ballard went on attack mode right from the outset with its defense defining the terms in a 14-7 first quarter advantage

Kennedy Catholic charged back to trim its deficit to four points on two separate occasions during the second quarter. Mitch Sasonoff drained a 3-pointer from the corner to keep the Lancers within 20-15 with just more than three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Seth Berger notched a basket and a pair of charity tosses to extend the Beaver lead.

While the ball hawking Ballard defense challenged its opposition all over the court and held the Kennedy inside penetration to a minimum, the Beavers would score on a Johnny Verduin basket to lead 26-15 at the half.

At the beginning of the second half, the Lancers drew within 29-20 before Ballard smartly moved the ball around to enable players to clear out for wide open, good percentage shots. Defensive dynamite exploded many of the Kennedy Catholic offensive sets. Ballard kept a double figures lead until the end of the game, leading by 19 points at one moment.

"The team has been in a slump," said Verduin. "This is the best we've played all year as a team. More people were involved."

Verduin led the Ballard scorers with 14 points Raymond Owens was next at 13 points while Seth Berger scored nine points plus collecting eight rebounds.

Kennedy Catholic coach Don Hoffman saw his Lancers benefit from the tournament experience as well.

"It was a good tournament and we got better," he said. "As a team, we improved a great deal."

Ballard landed two players on the all tournament team. Berger was MVP while Verduin was also selected to the tournament. Josh Sierhuis of Kennedy Catholic, Calvin Edwards of Kent Meridian and Colin Malone of Lindbergh rounded out the squad.

Participants in the boys division included Ballard, Cascade Christian, Enumclaw, Kentlake, Kent-Meridian, Lindbergh, Kennedy and King's.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.