Ballenas Secondary School’s senior boys basketball team took care of business on home court Tuesday evening, as they went on a 17 point run to start the game then rode their bench to a decisive 75-55 AAA league win over the Francis Kelsey Breakers from Mill Bay.
“We turned up the defensive pressure from the opening tip,” BSS assistant coach Tim Bigelow said after, in what just may be the understatement of the month.
The Whalers were fast out of the gate and parlayed a season high, heck possibly an all-time Whaler-high, 12 first quarter turnovers by their opponents, along with some outstanding efforts under the defensive boards, into a 25-8 lead after 10 minutes.
Ballenas speedster Dustin Rodriguez ripped into the Breakers early with a steady diet of steals and layups. He had six steals alone in the first quarter including a couple back-to-back, and all of which he turned into points.
“Probably the fasted kid I have ever coached.”
“Come on you guys snap out of it. You’re in a basketball game … this is an actual game (and) they’re a very athletic team,” the Breakers’ coach barked at his boys during an early time out.
The Whalers took their foot off the gas in the second quarter and still took a 20 point lead (39-19) into the half.
The Whalers’ Terrek Bryant accounted for a couple of those steals when he reached in and ripped the ball out of the hands of a Breaker in the offensive zone.
BSS head coach Taylor Wilson decided to switch up the defence in the third quarter and try new player line-ups resulting in a sluggish start to the second half, but the Whale were up by 24 going into the final frame.
Ballenas padded its lead to as much as 28 early in the fourth then eased off enough for Breakers to climb back to within 14 points.
“We allowed the boys to play through this run by the opposition to see how they would react to such adversity,” said Bigelow.
Also earning props for their play was Grade 11 forward Lukas Whibley who “stepped up big with a number of other players in foul trouble and gave the team a number of second chance opportunities in the final four minutes … his play along with Matt Vandervelde’s stellar defense helped to secure the 20 point victory.”
“It was a real team win for the boys,” said Bigelow. “Everyone got into the game and the players on the bench kept the guys on the floor motivated … the boys are definitely improving.”
Rodriguez finished with a game-high 24 points, and Vandervelde and Sean Rae chipped in with nine points apiece, while Whibley pulled down 10 rebounds.
The win lifts the Whalers to 2-1 in league play and 9-6 overall with one home game remaining, that being next Tuesday (Feb. 7) against the Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS) Islanders in a 5 p.m. tipoff.
The Whalers are in Cedar this weekend for a big annual 16-team tournament.