Ballenas takes on the Harlem Crowns in fundraiser

The Ballenas Whalers senior boys basketball team is hosting the Harlem Crowns on Oct. 20, in what’s sure to be an entertaining event.

The Ballenas Whalers senior boys basketball team is hosting the Harlem Crowns on Oct. 20, in what’s sure to be an entertaining event.

With their season not beginning until November, the Whalers are playing in the fundraiser game with the Crowns, who are much like the Harlem Globetrotters and travel to play various teams across North America.

“It should be a fun night,” coach Kevin McMillen said about the event. “The Harlem Crowns have been around for a while. I played against them when I was in high school and we had a blast with it. They’re a great, entertaining group of players and it’s a lot of fun for everyone involved. We’re very happy and honoured to play host to them at our school.”

Chico Burrell, born in Harlem, New York, founded the Crowns in the 1950s after 12 years playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. Herb Scaife, manager and player for the Crowns, took over after Burrell retired and has been with the team since.

Tickets for the event are $9 in advance ($10 at the door), while kids six and under are free. The funds will go toward the Whalers’ tournaments and other expenses.

“It’s more about the entertainment than anything,” McMillen said. “They do have a good amount of talent too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s all about bringing people in to have some fun and enjoy themselves. We’re very excited to be a part of the Crowns event that they put on and it’ll be a fun way to kick off the season for everyone on our team.”

Former Whaler Josh Mullen (now an assistant coach with the VIU Mariners)was on hand last weekend helping players improve their footwork and other aspects of the game. There has been plenty of basketball heading into this season, including two nights of drop-in throughout the summer, one at each Ballenas and Kwalikum secondary schools.

“I think it’s great for the kids,” McMillen said. “The more you can get involved and have the chance to better yourself, the better off you will be from it all. As a coach, you can talk and talk about things and sometimes it doesn’t quite sink in. Then a player will hear it from someone else and boom, it sinks in and they understand it. So having the drop-in basketball, having Josh come and teach them about footwork and that aspect of the game, those are all positive things that they can use to make themselves better.”

As for the upcoming basketball season, coach McMillen is optimistic.

“We’ve got a good number of seniors,” McMillen said. “I thought last season was a little bit of a let down for all of us, we started late and didn’t have the season we hoped for. I think this season is going to be different for us, the players are excited and I see good things happening for this team.”

Contact Kevin McMillen (250-951-2514) for tickets or more information.

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