After winning the Class 4A championship a year ago, Ballard is a step closer to another title – this time as a 3A school.

The third-seeded Bombers played lockdown defense and spread out their scoring in beating sixth-seeded Center Point-Urbana 43-29 to start Day 2 of the 2022 state tournament.

Ballard (22-3) dominated the second half after trailing 21-19 at halftime, holding the Stormin’ Pointers to just two field goals and eight points over the final two quarters. That effort sent the Bombers into a semifinal against second-seeded West Lyon at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Paige Noe led the balanced Ballard scoring with 11 points and Lilly Hillebrand scored nine – all during a third-quarter spurt that gave the Bombers the lead. Playmaker Brooke Loewe had seven points, five assists and six steals for Ballard, while Lilly Beale filled the stat sheet with seven points, eight rebounds and seven steals.

Ballard had 16 steals in all and forced 23 turnovers. Center Point-Urbana matched Ballard’s scrappiness on defense and came up with nine steals while forcing 16 turnovers.

Nicole Rick knocked down four 3-pointers and led Center Point-Urbana (21-4) with 16 points. Ryley Goebel, an all-tournament selection as a freshman in 2019 went CPU won the state championship, had 11 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and three blocks in her final high school game. The lanky 6-footer, comfortable shooting with either hand, will play at Northern Iowa next season.

Hillebrand’s third quarter outburst helped Ballard take control after Center Point-Urbana kept the Bombers from getting much going in the first half.

She converted a three-point play and buried a 3 from the top of the key to put the Bombers ahead to stay at 25-23.

Goebel’s free throw got the Stormin’ Pointers to within a point, but Hillebrand followed with another 3 from the top of the key, starting an 11-1 run that pushed the lead to 36-24 with 4:41 left. Center Point-Urbana never recovered and Ballard finished it off with free throws.