Ballock's career-high 31 points lead T-Birds to 79-67 win over Pirates

Ballock's career-high 31 points lead T-Birds to 79-67 win over Pirates

INDEPENDENCE, Kansas — Have a night, Andrew Ballock.

The current Eudora High School all-time leading scorer certainly did Monday, helping the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team upended Independence Community College, 79-67, in a make-up for Saturday's postponement.

Ballock was near flawless, pouring in a career-high 31 points on a staggering 10-for-11 shooting, including 7-of-8 from 3-point range, while adding eight rebounds and six assists.

"He was absolutely special (Monday)," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "He made big plays on both ends of the court. Everyone sees the 31 points, but he was dynamic defensively, as well. He just played a great, great basketball game."

Cloud County (13-4 overall, 9-4 KJCCC) never trailed Monday and worked itself out to a 22-point lead by the 6:32 mark of the first half, cruising into halftime with a 44-27 lead.

The T-Birds' overwhelmed the Pirates (7-9 overall, 4-9 KJCCC) early as they shot a blistering 65 percent (17-of-26) in the first half, and finished at 61 percent for the game. It marked the best shooting percentage for Cloud County in a game this season.

"I thought the first six or seven minutes of the game was the best we've looked all year," Eshbaugh said. "Obviously, it helps when you make shots and we made a bunch of them early."

Cloud County went through a brief scoring lapse to begin the second half, allowing Independence to crawl back within nine points, but were able to rely on its defense until shots started falling again to push the lead back up to a comfortable double-digit margin.

"I don't think we scored the first five minutes of the second half, but we defended well enough to not let (the Pirates) make a huge run," Eshbaugh said. "We kept ourselves on course."

Joining Ballock in double-figures Monday were sophomore guards Deon Lyle and Aamahne Santos with 17 points and 10 points, respectively.

Redshirt freshman Ramion Burt Jr. added nine boards and four rebounds off the bench, as well.

Cloud County will have a quick turnaround as it hosts Dodge City Community College at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The Conquistadors are currently tied for third place with the T-Birds in the conference standings. Cloud County defeated Dodge City 81-75 back on Nov. 12 to open KJCCC action.

"Dodge City is a very good team," Eshbaugh said. "They (Conquistadors) were missing a couple guys when we played them. It's going to be a big basketball game for us. They've had a little bit more time (to prepare), but I think we're a confident team after tonight and it should be a fun one on Wednesday."