The Kwalikum Kondor senior boys basketball team clinched the league title with a 55–46 win over the John Barsby Bulldogs from Nanaimo.
With the win, the Kondors earned a bye into the final day for the North Island tournament to see which of the top four teams from the North Division will head to the Island tournament.
The North Islands are slated for Feb. 13–15 at Kwalikum Secondary School between Ladysmith, Cedar, Highlands, Woodlands, John Barsby and KSS. The Barsby Bulldogs also earned a bye with their second place finish in the league.
Barsby jumped out to a fast lead against KSS last Tuesday as they took an 11–0 lead. KSS finally managed to get on the board with just under five minutes left to play in the first quarter and went on a 9–0 run to close the gap to 11–9 at the end of the first quarter.
The second and third quarters were carbon copies, with Barsby jumping out early and the Kondors having to play catch up the entire night. Turnovers were the story of the game for both teams as KSS gave the ball away to Barsby, the Bulldogs taking advantage in the early parts of the second and third quarters. The Kondors stepped up their pressure and forced some turnovers from Barsby and managed to get enough points to close the gap at the end of each quarter.
“We were struggling with our turnovers, so it was hard. I knew coming into the fourth quarter I needed to get my game going. I’m a leader on this team and I needed to start acting like it more,” said Grade 11 Ryan Becker.
The Kondors came out on fire in the fourth frame, led by Becker who scored the first seven points to give KSS the lead 42–37. From that point on the Kondors never looked back and kept the pedal to the floor, causing turnovers and forcing some Barsby players to lose their cool and mental focus.
Ryan Becker finished the game with 16 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. Grade 12 Shane Gayton continued his hot shooting from the outside, hitting four three–pointers for the sixth game in a row and finishing with 15 points.
“We’re excited with the way we finished the season. I haven’t seen a senior boys team finish the way this team has and I don’t think there would have been many people who would have picked this team to do it,” said head coach Butch Gayton. “Despite having a horrible start in the first half, the boys battled back. Same thing in the second half, we were down early but managed to battle back. They’ve found that extra gear in their game which is great to see.”