Ballard used both its pressure defense and its determination to outwork Clark on the boards to bury the Cardinals in the first half and move on to today's semifinal round.
For while it was bad enough that the Cardinals shot just 26 percent from the field, they were also outrebounded 39-27, including 24-11 in the first two periods.
"Offensively, we were struggling to hit shots, but our shot selection was good. They just weren't falling," Clark coach Scott Humphrey said. "But we missed a lot of blockouts there, and they capitalized on every one of them. And our transition defense wasn't very good, but they'll do that to you."
The Cardinals fell behind 14-2 during their 1-for-12 start, and they stood at 4-for-16 even after they pulled within 14-12 early in the second quarter.
Then they missed seven straight attempts during and just after Ballard's decisive 23-0 run.
"We rely a lot of spurts ... and a lot of that comes from applying the pressure," Ballard coach Chris Renner said.
"Really, it's been like that all year," Ballard guard Antiquawn Beckham said. "Coach tells us to press the ball, and when we get easy steals everybody rotates."
But Renner said the Bruins" press wasn't the same as it usually is, which was by design.
"In general, they did a good job of handling the ball," he said. "They only had 15 turnovers, but they had to work really hard to get it up the floor a lot. But because they have so many weapons, we weren't able to press the way we normally like to."
Not that the pressure didn't take a toll.
"They apply a lot of pressure, and they come at you hard each trip," Clark center Josh Wood said. "They didn't let you take a possession off.
"We tried to keep our poise, but the constant pressure got us off our game."
Clark finished the first half at 5-for-26 and went 4-for-15 in the third quarter, and the Cardinals finished at 13-for-50 overall and 5-for-24 from 3-point range.
Yet Renner said it was rebounding that was the key to Ballard's big run and that allowed the Bruins to put Clark away in the first half.
"We forced them into some quick shots, and then we got the rebounds, so that was big," he said. "If we force them into quick shots and they get the offensive rebound, it's all null and void."
Ballard had been outrebounded 47-37 in its first-round win over Owensboro, and it was obvious Renner wasn't happy about that.
"One of our key points of emphasis was rebounding," he said. "We really wanted to control the glass tonight, and we did that. I really felt like that was a way they could hurt us."
Renner said he was particularly worried about Clark center Tristan Jones.
"I thought he was going to manhandle us on the boards," Renner said.
Instead, Ballard post players Beckham and Jonathan Gholson limited Jones, who averages 8.3 boards per game, to just two.
Four players had at least four rebounds each for Ballard, led by Beckham with eight. And while Preston Knowles had six rebounds for Clark, he was the only Cardinal with more than three.
And Ballard's board work kick-started its transition game and created a host of easy baskets.
"I feel like we hit the glass, and that led to a lot of easy layups and easy fast breaks," said Beckham, who added that he had been given a special message by Renner to go hard to the glass.
Of course, Ballard's speed had a great deal to do with why the Bruins bothered Clark so much on defense, got to so many rebounds and got so many fast breaks.
"They were just quicker, and the better team won tonight," Clark guard Preston Knowles said.