Two District 69 high schools — Kwalikum Kondors and Ballenas Whalers — had teams that made it to their respective Island championships this season.
And although both were unable to qualify for the B.C. championships, just making to the Islands was already an achievement.
Kondors head coach Taylor Wilson said their results this year is going to help them prepare for next season’s campaign.
The Kondors senior boys team finished third in the AA North Island Playoffs they hosted on Feb. 14-16 to earn a berth in the AA Island tournament hosted by Ladysmith 49ers over the weekend. The big win for the Kondors was when they upset Brooks Thunderbird 67-47 and then despite fielding their second-stringers in their next match they end up beating Timberline 57-49.
The Kondors travelled to Ladysmith last week and played their first match against second-seeded St. Michael’s University Blue Jags. It was a tough opening match for the Kwalikum squad and they went down 91-36.
Logan Ward led the Kondors with 13 points. The Blue Jags reached the finals of the Island and earned a berth in the provincial tournament.
In their next game, the Kondors took on a familiar nemesis, the Ladysmith 49ers, the top team in the North Islands. Again the 49ers proved to be a formidable foe as they clipped the Kondors 80-54 to put their season to a close. Braeden Leary was the top scorer for KSS with 16 points, followed by Ward and Elcin Furkan who each had nine points.
“You’re always disappointed when your season is finished and go out on a loss,” said Wilson. “However, when I look back at the season as a whole, we improved a lot over the past four months. We were much harder to play against going out than we were coming in. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for. I was happy that over the past few weeks we were able to put together a consistent effort for each game.”
Kondors forward Ward finished in the top-five in the scoring list in the North Island Conference with a total of 119 points. He was named in the North Islands all-star team.
Wilson said the Double A Islands have been dominated by schools from South Island and noted that there will be no North Island school advancing to the provincials.
“It has been that way for a number of years,” Wilson noted. “On the flip side, the Triple A Islands, it’s reversed with the stronger teams coming from the North.”
Wilson said they will continue to work harder in improving the school’s basketball program to able to challenge the top teams on a consistent basis.
“This year was another step in the right direction,” he said.
“We will work hard over the summer. We have a good group of Grade 10s that will join my returning Grade 11s next year. Hopefully we can crack that top four on the Island in Double A.”
Meanwhile, the Ballenas Whalers senior girls team won the Double A North Island Championship and advanced to the Island championships hosted by Lambrick Park Secondary Feb. 14-16.
The Whalers opened with a 60-36 over Shawnigan Lake to advance to the semifinals, where they faced Lambrick Park Lions and ended up losing 52-38.
Head coach Bryan Spray said as expected it was a tough tournament but they’re pleased to see the Whaler girls finish fourth overall.
The Whalers senior boys advanced to the Triple A North Islands hosted by Mark Isfeld in Courtenay. The Whalers dropped their first game against Barsby Blazers 93-49. They then took on Carihi Tyees next. They put on a gallant effort but still end up losing 96-82.