Isabella Loberiza photo Shane Stewart of Ballenas, right, wins the jump ball against Kwalikum’s Wyatt Walker to kick off the teams’ annual basketball derby.

Kondors survives Whalers late rally to win annual derby

Qualicum school survives, Parksville school’s strong comeback

There was nothing at stake but pride and bragging rights. But they were enough to fuel an intense senior boys basketball rivalry of two of School District 69 secondary schools, the Kwalikum Kondors and the Ballenas Whalers.

The Kondors hosted the annual basketball derby on Jan. 26. The match was closely contested and, in the end, came down to the final possession to be settled by just a point. And it was the Kondors who soared a tad higher than the Whalers and escaped with a 48-47 win.

Head coach Taylor Wilson said the KSS boys struggled to keep their composure in check in the fourth as Ballenas fought back hard to almost rob the Kondors of the win.

“They had two great shots that both went in and out,” said Wilson.

The Kondors were led by Anthony Crowther, who finished with 14 points. Braeden Leary had 8 points and Ethan Christensen added five points.

The Whalers trailed by 10 points going into the fourth quarter. As the Whalers rallied back, Wilson said, the Kondors nearly blew it when they received a couple of technicals and committed unsportsmanlike fouls. It was close, he said.

The Whalers offense was sparked by Jairus Abad and Shane Stewart, who scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The rivalry game was the first played between the schools in two seasons. Last season, the programs were unable to set up a game due to scheduling conflicts. Ballenas competes in the AAA North Island division while Kwalikum is in the AA North, so the teams do not meet in league play.

The Kondors are currently in fourth place in the Vancouver Island AA North with two wins and three losses.

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