The flight of the Kwalikum Kondors came to an end on Monday night.
The senior boys’ quest to advance to the Islands AA Basketball Championships this coming weekend was foiled by Pacific Christian Pacers in a 89-56 loss at Ladysmith Secondary School.
The Kondors finished fourth overall at the North Island championships last week but their spot in the Islands was challenged by the Pacers, who finished fifth in the South Islands. Under B.C. High School Basketball Association rules, the fifth-placed team can challenge the fourth-place finisher in the North Islands.
Head coach Taylor Wilson said the Kondors came out strong and kept within striking distance in the first half.
“The score doesn’t really reflect how we played,” said Wilson. “We were right with them the first half, pretty much within four to six points the whole quarter and they got eight at the half. We competed. We were surprised. We scored more points in the first quarter than we’ve had in most halves that we’ve lost in the last couple of months.”
The Kondors trailed 40-32 at intermission but it was a different story in the second half.
“In the third quarter they just had another gear and we couldn’t match them,” said Wilson. “They went on a 16-0 run and in the middle of that the boys kind of got punched and didn’t react. It just sucked the life out of us, I guess.”
The Pacers didn’t let up and went on to grab the last spot in the Islands, being hosted by Saint Michael’s University School in Victoria Feb. 22-24.
The top scorers for the Kondors were Grade 12 Arne Olefs and Grade 10 Nolan Lews, who each netted 17 points. Wilson wished they could have made it to the Islands.
“The sad thing is if we had played better on the weekend against Brooks on Saturday (at the North Islands), we wouldn’t have been in this position,” said Wilson. “But that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.”
Wilson said he is proud of his players and for the way they developed throughout the season.
“Despite the things we went through in the last month-and-a-half, we really came through together,” said Wilson. “We were undermanned for sure, most times. But as a group, I am pleased with the way they came together. And the development of our younger guys, we were playing four Grade 10s fairly consistently. The Grade 10s are excited to come back next year stronger and better. It was a big jump for the Grade 10s and, in the long run, their development is going to be beneficial for them for sure.”