Ballenas Whalers suffered their first loss of the high school boys basketball season (69-65 against Carihi Tyees on Tuesday night) but they’re not completely disappointed.
Head coach Dave Stockton said they had a lot to learn from the loss.
“I am proud of our boys because we played Carihi at the Isfeld tournament and we lost by 20 points,” said Stockton. “So playing them again tonight and losing by just four points is a huge stepping stone. That’s what we want to do.”
The Whalers started their AAA North Island League campaign with two back-to-back wins and were hoping to extend it to three.
They started well against the Tyees, one of the top teams in the league. They dominated the first two quarters and led 23-16 at the halfway mark.
The Tyees made a strong comeback in the third, applying full court press that slowed down the Whalers offence. They were able to cut the gap and eventually gained the lead.
The Whalers kept the game close and at the end of the third quarter were only down four points 52-48. But in the last quarter, the Whalers went cold and the number of errors they committed on crucial plays led to their demise.
“We needed to sink those shots and I think that cost us the game,” said Stockton. “Our defence was excellent and we outrebounded them at times. But we just missed our shots. If we made four, five shots, we could have won the game.”
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The Whalers are sparked by guards Jayden Hafner and Chester Garviles, who each banked in 20 points, with Ben Chomolok adding eight points, and Demar Hohnstein and Bruce MacCabe netting seven points each.
Stockton said the Whalers are preparing for the Totem Tournament in Port Alberni in January and are hoping to face the Tyees again there.
“We need to work on our intensity,” said Stockton.
“We also have to work on making less errors. The boys have got skills and they’ve shown us time and time again. But it’s just keeping that intensity for all four quarters in every minute. So we’re looking forward to keep working on that and it’s up them.”
In other hoops news, the Kwalikum Kondors improved to 3-1 in AA North Island League play when they beat Duncan Christian Chargers 68-59 on Tuesday night at the KSS gym.
Yianni Giakoumakis led the Kondors with game-high 33 points, the second consecutive game where he has scored in the 30s. Davin Pitcairn added 16 points while Braeden Leary had 12 points.
Meanwhile, the longest-running high school basketball tournament in the province will return to Port Alberni in the new year.
Alberni District Secondary School’s (ADSS) Totem tournament will celebrate its 65th year in January 2020.
The three-day tournament will run from Thursday, Jan. 9 to Saturday, Jan. 11 and will feature not only the basketball teams, but also the ADSS cheer and dance teams, performances from the pep band and a Totem Spirit contest.
Ballenas Whalers and Kwalikum Kondors will field girls and boys teams in the tournament.
Other schools competing in the tournament include host Alberni, Belmont, Highland, Nanaimo Pacific Christian, St. Patrick, Carihi, Edward Milne, Mark Isfeld, Reynolds and Stellys.
Totem 65 kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 5:15 p.m. with Kondors senior boys team taking on Alberni Armada and later at 7 p.m., the Kondors girls team face the Armada.