With exams taking place this week, the Ballenas Whalers senior boys basketball team is using the break to fine-tune its game ahead of a showdown with Carihi (Campbell River) for the right to go to the Island championship.
The Whalers, coming off a weekend where they beat Gulf Island Secondary (70-23) and lost to Brentwood College and G.W. Graham (both provincially-ranked teams), will be looking to learn from some mental lapses last weekend ahead of a big game on February 10 at home against the NDSS Islanders.
“We had a tough time in the first game we played against Brentwood,” head coach Kevin McMillen said. “We had trouble containing them and we couldn’t score the ball like we were hoping to.”
“Even though we lost by two points to G.W. Graham, we played them very well and had a great game defensively,” McMillen said. “It was our consistency that really gave us problems in that game and it’s been like that in a few games for us this season so far.”
McMillen and his coaching staff, Taylor Wilson and Tim Bigelow, will be looking to implement a few things this week to help turn that around for their team.
Even though the season got off to a late start, McMillen has been impressed with what he’s seen so far and knows the best is yet to come.
“It’s one of those things where they’re playing good basketball, but they haven’t peaked just yet,” McMillen said. “The fact that we haven’t peaked as a team is a good thing, because you don’t want to be peaking in the early part of the season.”
“It’s when the playoffs roll around that you hope to be peaking as a team and I can sense that we’re building up to that with each practice and game that goes by.”
Looking to shake things up a little, McMillen has handed over the game-day coaching duties to Wilson, a graduate from Kwalikum Secondary School who played university basketball at Vancouver Island University.
“Having Taylor and Tim here has been great for everyone,” McMillen said. “It’s nice to have more than just one person handling the load, it makes it a lot easier on the team.”
“Being able to bounce ideas off someone in the middle of a game is great and both Taylor and Tim have done a fantastic job so far with these kids.”
The Whalers have an exhibition game this weekend against B.C. Christian School and then play host to the NDSS Islanders next Tuesday (Feb. 10) at Ballenas Secondary
(7 p.m.). Last time they met NDSS won by
“We know what kind of a team we are,” McMillen said. “If we can play with the same intensity we’ve been playing with the last couple of games on defense, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to pull out a win against NDSS.”