Junior Whalers the top seed out of the North
On Thursday they thumped the Thunderbirds 79-39.
On Friday they had to come from 12 points back to beat the Wildcats 54-51 in overtime.
On Saturday they turned in a dominating performance and defeated the Dolphins 41-25.
Finally, on Sunday they were resting comfortably and savouring a North Island title.
Ballenas Secondary School’s Junior Boys basketball team heads into the Island Championships this week as the No. 1 seed out of the North after winning the North Island championships at BSS.
The Whalers, coming off a first place finish at the District finals held in their gym the week before, opened the tourney with a romp over Powell River.
In the semi-final on Friday evening against Wellington, BSS was trailing by a dozen in the third quarter but the blue and white dug deep and stormed back.
Whalers’ head coach Steve Dorsay said the turning point of the game “was Kendal Wuerch checking in at the four minute mark ... driving to the hoop scoring two close range jumpers and getting to the line after being fouled on a third drive. We played inspired after this.”
With 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Sean Rae dribbled to the baseline and was trapped. With four seconds remaining Rae turned and found Robert Tickell in the key, who cooly knocked down a 15 foot jump shot with one second remaining to force overtime.
The Whalers nailed down the win when Towle dialled up a three-pointer with under a minute remaining in the three minute overtime period.
Back at it Saturday in the tournament final against Dover Bay, the two teams were tied 11-11 after the first quarter. The Whalers took a 22-19 lead into the half, and were up 33-20 after three.
Liam O’Brien led the Whalers with a game-high 11 points, “and led the team by dominating the boards at both ends of the court,” said his coach, adding Tickell “was his usual poised point guard taking care of the ball. Robert seems to find gaps and make great cuts and scores well off passes not just off the drive.”
Supporting members Lukas Whibley and Brad Harvey “are massive contributors on the boards,” and Towle “continues to impress with his three point shot and hustle.”
Wuerch chipped in with four points and numerous defensive rebounds, and Jordan Roy amazed “with his hustle as always and really led the team to a 19-6 point second half run. Jordan was pivotal because he stopped the Dover point guard from penetrating. He put pressure on the guard from one end to the other,” said Dorsay.
Dorsay said he and co-coach Mike Stefan “are pleased with our progress this season. We are thrilled to have had the success we have (had) but are ready to take on the next challenge which is the Islands in Victoria this weekend.
“We recognize the commitment to hard work and defensive intensity it will take to do well at the islands. This week is about getting that work ethic from everyone.”
The Whalers open the Island finals at 5 p.m. Thursday against the Pacers from Pacific Christian School.