The Ballenas Whalers senior girls team emerged as champions at the longest-running high school basketball tournament in the province, the 64th Annual Totem hosted by Alberni District Secondary School Jan. 10-12.
There were eight teams in the girls division and the Whalers beat Windsor 48-32 in the final. This was the third time the Whalers girls have won the event, also capturing the title in 2013 and 2017.
The Whalers also garnered individual honours when tower-of-power Abigail Becker, a Grade 11 player, was named tournament MVP and Grade 12 player Jules Clark was named to the all-star team.
Head coach Bryan Spray said overall the Whaler girls played well.
“Our defence was excellent in this tournament, holding our opponents to 39 (against Pacific Christian), 17 (against Victoria High) and 32 points (against Windsor) respectively in the three games,” said Spray. “Defence wins championships.”
The Kwalikum Kondors also fielded their senior girls team and finished seventh overall.
In the boys division, the Whalers wound up in sixth place while the Kondor boys ended up in seventh, when they beat Edward Milne 55-47.
The first place finisher was Mark Isfeld of Courtenay, which topped Reynolds in the final.
In Double A league action, the Kwalikum Kondors senior boys played two games. After losing a heartbreaker to Timberline, 64-63 on Jan. 15, the Kondors bounced back in a big way two days later when they upset the No. 2-ranked team in the league, Highland 51-44.
Head coach Taylor Wilson praised the way his players worked as a team.
“It was a big team effort,” said Wilson. “No one scored over 10 points but we had scores from nine of the 10 players.”
At this stage of the league, Wilson said the Kondors are peaking at the right time.
“I am very happy that that we are moving in the right direction as the playoffs are in a month,” said Wilson. “The boys are working hard in practice and it is paying off now. We still have lots of room to improve but we are trending on the right track.”
The Kondors return to action on Jan. 22 when they host another formidable school, Ladysmith at the KSS gym.
Elsewhere, the Ballenas senior boys have yet to break into the win column in Triple A league play.
Their first game in the new year ended in an 86-40 loss to the top school in the leaguge Carihi on Jan. 15.
It doesn’t get any easier for Ballenas as their next game will be against the second-best team in the league, Mark Isfeld at the Whalers gym at 7 p.m. on Jan 24.