Governors building on Ballard

William Blount’s Chris Jensen (11) and Brandon Miller box out against Alcoa at the jamboree.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

William Blount’s Chris Jensen (11) and Brandon Miller box out against Alcoa at the jamboree.

Governor junior Micah Ballard contests a layup from Alcoa’s Taylor Brown on Monday.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Governor junior Micah Ballard contests a layup from Alcoa’s Taylor Brown on Monday.

Micah Ballard finished with two points in a quarter of play at Monday night’s jamboree.

Considering William Blount would tally 26 points in the 10-minute scrimmage, and Governor coach David Baumann has good reason for optimism this season.

There no question William Blount will go as far this season as the sweet-shooting Ballard can take them, but, to be competitive in an always tough District 4AAA, the Governors are going to need more than just one guy.

Sophomore Ryan Rice paced William Blount with eight points in Monday’s quarter. Junior Zach Sievers pumped in six, including a 3-pointer. Sophomore Ty McBrayer added three, with four others, including Ballard, finishing with two.

The Governors are going to need that kind of balance. Ballard, a tall, skilled left-hander with all-court range, is sure to draw double teams this season. With overall height a concern, William Blount will have to rely on tempo and strength in numbers to win games, Baumann said.

“We’re just inexperienced, and we’re not very big,” he said. “Obviously, with our size, we’re going to have to shoot it well.”

The Governors will press as much as possible, Ballard said. They’ll push the tempo to make teams work. The goal is to play hard, play smart and play together, Baumann said.

“They’re coachable kids,” he said, “which allows us to do a lot. Right now, we’re all guards, basically.”

While the Governors are young — Ballard is the only returning lettermen — they are not without some talent. Rice and Sievers look as if they could develop into reliable scoring threats. McBrayer, while not a giant, is a genuine leaper, finishing among the leaders in Monday’s dunk contest. Junior Tyler Stinnett affords the Governors a strong point guard. Sophomore Zach Witt, the starting quarterback from football, is expected to see major minutes.

Key to it all, Baumann said, will be seniors Sidney Haynes and Blayne Howard, who must supply a young team with direction.

“We’re counting on them to step up for us,” he said.

Absence of a dominant front line withstanding, William Blount is not a team to be taking lightly this season.

“If we have a good year, we shoot the ball really well,” Baumann said, “and we take care of the ball.”

And, whenever possible, get it to Ballard.

“We’ll definitely look for him (Ballard) to take the lead,” he said, “and he’s done a good job with that. Micah is a natural leader. He’s got a great personality, and he’s so mentally tough.”

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