The Ballenas Whalers boys and girls senior teams got their first league game out of their system.
For the Ballenas boys, their inaugural game ended up in a lop-sided 77-49 loss to the visiting Alberni Armada on Tuesday night, Dec. 5, at the Whalers gym.
The Ballenas girls, on the other hand, pulled out a dramatic, 47-45 win over John Barsby Bulldogs on the road, with Jules Clark nailing the winning basket with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The senior boys head coach Kevin McMillen said his team is happy to have its first game under its belt. He pointed out that because most of his players are new, they showed their inexperience and struggled both defensively and offensively.
It took a while for the Whalers to get anything going and were outplayed by the the Armada, who led 58-31 at the end of the first half.
In the second half, the Whalers were a lot more composed and started to connect inside and outside the key. But it wasn’t enough to stop the Armada.
“Once they calmed down a little bit, they attacked really well and we got some good looks,” said McMillen. “It was just a matter of getting these boys comfortable in playing. There’s so many new players trying to play at this level. It’s like really they’re fish out of the water so my hope is they just stick with it and we’re going to see improvement.”
Leading the Armada was the diminutive guard Jairus Abad, who came off the bench and scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Felix Mendler and Shane Stewart contributed nine points and eight points, respectively.
To gain more playing experience, the Whalers boys have entered a tournament in Courtenay and will play their first game against Timberline on Friday.
The senior Whalers girls team travelled to Nanaimo well-prepared having played in their own tournament last weekend. And it showed when they led at the end of the first half 25-19. But in the third quarter, the Bulldogs launched a comeback and took control, leading by six points going into the final quarter.
The Whalers were able to tie it up 45-45 in the last minute and Clark made a clutch shot that broke the deadlock and earned the Ballenas’ girls their first win of the season.
The Whalers girls will host Kwalikum Kondors next Dec. 12 at Ballenas gym at 5 p.m.