Scott Stanfield photo Ballenas Whalers crash the boards against Timberline Wolves at the Mark Isfeld Invitational Basketball on Dec. 8.

Kondors soar in first game but crashes against Wolves

Kwalikum’s suspended players return to the roster for game against Trail Blazers

The Kwalikum Kondors split their first two Vancouver Island North league boys basketball games.

Playing in the AA division, the Kondors first hosted Nanaimo Christian Trail Blazers on Dec. 5. and they wound up with a dominating 79-37 win.

Grade 10 Nolan Lewis sparked the Kondors offense, tallying 20 points.

But despite the easy victory, the Kondors are going to be without two of their key seniors players, Ethan Christensen and Anthony Crowther, who both lost their composure over the officiating and were eventually tossed out of the game

Head coach Taylor Wilson indicated that there was no reason for the seniors to behave the way they did because the team had a sizable lead.

“It wasn’t a close game,” said Wilson. “It was a blowout game, so I was shocked.”

For their actions, Christensen and Crowther were suspended from the team and their return was to be determined in January.

Wilson said losing both players had further impacted the Kondors’ already shallow roster, which consists of juniors and senior players.

“I am carrying five Grade 10s to just be able to field a team,” said Wilson, who had coached the Ballenas Whalers in the last five years and had no problems recruiting players. “We are working on recruiting some players. We still have time to fill our roster.”

The lack of players, and the loss of two of their seniors, made it tougher for the Kondors at their next league game on Dec. 7 against Timberline Wolves in Campbell River. They had only seven players on the trip. It was a close game but the Kondors ended up losing 57-50.

“We battled really hard,” said Taylor. “It was tied at the half and we led a couple of times in the third. But they went on a bit of a run in the fourth and the gap was between five to 10 points in that quarter. We got within five about two minutes left but they hit a couple of shots and that was it. We simply ran out of gas. We tried to keep up with them as much as we could.”

Taylor said Nolan was again a factor in the Kondors’ offense, banking in 16 points.

“He is going to be one of my scoring leaders this season for sure throughout the season and he is only Grade 10,” said Taylor. “He’s quite an athlete.”

Arne Olefs and Kane Carnahan contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Kondors are now 1-1 in league play. They host the Ladysmith 49ers tonight at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday morning, Wilson and the school principal Lori Marshall met the two suspended players individually. They were reinstated into the team sooner than expected.

Wilson said he had no intention of playing them but due to two of his players not going to be available for tonight’s game, he has no choice but to field both of them off the bench.

Meanwhile, the Ballenas Whalers boys senior team is gaining some game experience, having entered the Mark Isfeld Invitational in Courtenay. In their first game, the Whalers took on Timberline Dec. 8.

The Whalers put up a good fight and led at the end of the third quarter. But they were not able to sustain it as Timberline came out strong in the fourth and beat the Whalers 70-60.

The Whalers are currently 0-1 in league play having lost to Alberni Armada 77-49 in their inaugural game of the season on Dec. 5 at home.

The Whalers are on the road Tuesday. They face John Barsby Bulldogs on Dec. 12 in Nanaimo at 7 p.m.

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