Ballenas Secondary School’s senior boys basketball team have to be a confident bunch this week, after pulling their season out of the ashes and punching their ticket to the Island finals in improbable fashion.
Losers of their final two regular season games, the Whalers were at home with their backs against the wall Feb. 23 in a wildcard against the Alberni Valley Armada in which the boys from Ballenas refused to back down and ran away with a 91-66 win.
“We went out there last night and got the win,” Whalers co-coach Tim Bigelow said after that one. “It was a real chippy game though. Lots of emotions from both sides.”
Senior guard Dustin Rodriguez was the storyline, as he bounced back from injury with a vengeance and scorched the Armada for 43 points, “which was a career high for him.”
“It was a solid win for the boys,” said Bigelow, who has helped guide this year’s squad with head coach and fellow Kwalikum Secondary School grad Taylor Wilson.
The Whalers were back in action in Nanaimo the next two nights as part of the North Island finals, losing a heartbreaker to the top-ranked Dover Bay Dolphins on Friday then mounting an improbable comeback to beat the Towhees from Campbell River in overtime and secure the final berth in the Island finals.
“Again this group of young men impressed us with their never-give-up attitude toward the game,” said Bigelow, adding, “this was the most exciting weekend of basketball I have ever experienced. It was nice to end the tournament on a high after the one point loss to Dover (and) we proved we can compete with any team in our league in the process.”
The Whalers opened their BC High School AAA senior boys Island championships in Duncan on Thursday against Oak Bay. Score from that game unavailable at press time.