The annual “cross-town” rivalry series between the Ballenas Whalers and Kwalikum Kondors boys basketball teams tipped off at Ballenas Secondary School last week, with the Whalers coming out on top in the first of two meetings between the teams this season.
It was a close, back-and-forth game between the teams, whose players have shared the court as either teammates or opponents at one point or another over the last seven years.
The Whalers came out on top in the first of the home and home matchups by a score of 58-38.
Aaron Paetkau was once again a force to be reckoned with for the Whalers, leading the charge offensively for the Blue and White. Paetkau stands at 6’5” and presents a matchup problem for every team the Whalers have faced so far this season.
“He’s a tough matchup,” head coach Kevin McMillen said. “Aaron’s so tall that he can play against the big guys, which is a problem for them because most big guys aren’t as quick or athletic as he is. So if he’s got a smaller opponent guarding him, Aaron can use his size to his advantage and exploit the defense that way. He’s a great weapon to have on our team because he can do so much for us — score, pass, and rebound; you name it, he can do it. Not to mention the fact that he’s 6’5” but has a wingspan that makes him seem like he’s a lot taller.”
Leading the way for the Kondors was senior Lucas Sposato, who, like Paetkau, presents a lot of challenges for opposing teams. Sposato has the height but also has the ability to step back beyond the three-point line and knock shots down at will, which causes opponents to have to be near him at all times.
“He’s dangerous when he’s on the floor,” McMillen said of Sposato. “For someone his size, his shot is very dangerous. He can shoot it from anywhere once he’s over half court and it has a chance to go in. He can take you down low in the post and hit a turnaround jump shot or he can take a pass out at the three-point line and have just as much of a chance to hit that shot, too.
“Luckily for us, we were really able to key in on him as their main threat offensively because they were without their starting point guard.”
Starting at point for the Kondors is Grade 11 Dre Dixon, who missed the game on Thursday night. Hoping to have him back for the second matchup between the two teams, Kondors coach Dave Frampton is feeling optimistic about their chances.
“If we hit half of our free-throws, it’s a different game,” Frampton said. “That being said, if the Whalers did the same thing, it’s a blowout. So it was close, no doubt about that, but with Dre back in our lineup that gives us an entirely different skill set at the point guard position to utilize. It’ll be fun the next time these two teams meet in our house.”
Lucas Sposato (12) lays one up as the Kwalikum Kondors and Ballenas Whalers battled it out last Thursday night at Ballenas Secondary School in Parksville. The Whalers went on to beat the Kondors, 58-38. — Image credit: Tyson Taylor/PQB NEWS