For the first time in the school’s history, the Ballenas Whalers senior girls basketball team has won the AA Island championship. The Whalers will play in the provincial championships March 4-7 at the Langley Events Centre.
The Whalers girls, who narrowly missed the provincials last year, managed to beat the Lambrick Park Lions (Victoria) 57-50 on Saturday. The Whalers split their season series with the Lions, but earned the important win Saturday in the final to take home the Island title.
Grade 12 players Chelsea Hoey was named the tournament MVP, while her sister, Makayla, was named a first-team all star.
“We’re very excited about it all,” head coach Daryl Britz said. “These girls have played well together all season and to see them win the Island title is just great. I’m very proud of the way we played and now we get to look forward to heading to provincials.”
In the final, the Whalers were in control so much that at one point the Lions coach replaced his five starting players from the bench, clearly frustrated with the Whalers’ swarming defense.
“We played a great tournament,” Britz said. “Bob Sinclair, our assistant, has done a great job all year with the girls on the bench, helping each one of them out individually and keeping them up and in the games. He’s been a great asset for our team and it’s all tied in to how our team has played well all season together.”
The Whalers opened up their tournament with an 82-45 win over Brentwood. Chelsea Hoey had 23 points, Emily Robertson with 20, Makayla Hoey and Sophie Palmer with 15 points each.
Next the Whalers trailed all game against Pacific Christian (Victoria) and took the lead with about a minute left in the fourth quarter. The game was tied and headed into overtime, where Britz had a rather short bench.
“We had two point guards that fouled out,” Britz said. “All together there were three that fouled out, two with injuries and that left us short handed. Chelsea had to run the point for us and we tried to piece it together as best we could.”
Abby Lefaux, who didn’t play in the first game due to a knee injury, managed to come back to play against Pacific Christian. She came off the bench and had 13 points in the fourth quarter (21 in the game), bringing the Whalers back and giving them a chance to win. Chelsea Hoey, would go on to score six of her 23 points in overtime, giving the Whalers a hard fought win, 67-59.
“Abby was a warrior, she brought us back in that semi-final,” Britz said. “She rolled her ankle on the same leg she hurt her knee but she was a warrior, she wanted to go right back in there and keep going.”