“They’re certainly an athletic bunch,” one fan chuckled from the cheap seats Tuesday as the Whalers swamped the Nanaimo District Secondary School Islanders 86-44 in AAA Sr. Boys basketball action.
In action on home court for the final time this year with a good sized crowd cheering them on, the Whalers came out slow.
According to Ballenas Secondary School assistant coach Tim Bigelow it was senior night.
“We came out super sluggish at the beginning of the game,” said Bigelow, but guard Sean Rae went on a tear to end the first quarter scoring 10 of the teams’ 20 points off the bench.
Bigelow said the slow play continued into the second quarter, as the Islanders were beating the Whale to the majority of loose balls and rebounds. Again, the addition of Rae and forward Lukas Whibley to the game seemed to spark the boys offensively, with Rae scoring another six points while Whibley dominated the boards.
Ballenas led 37-17 at the half, and the blue and white looked out of sync to start the third.
“The main problem was no one wanted to move on offence,” said Bigelow. “Everyone just stood around and watched the player with the ball.”
“(The team) made a great call switching the offence to one we use against a zone defence, which spurred on a big run at the end of the third.”
The Whalers’ Dustin Rodriguez and Coleton Reelie started to heat up in the fourth and the Whalers dominated.
Rodriguez finished with a game-high 31 points, Rae had 16, and Reelie a season-high 14. O’Brien finished with 11 rebounds and Whibley 10.
“It was one of the best quarters we have had offensively this year,” said Bigelow.
Also earning props for his play was Deo Corpuz, who came off the bench “and played really well,” scoring a season-high nine points.
“He’s one of the favourites amongst the refs just because he’s a hard working player that never complains to the officials.”
The win ups the Whalers’ record to 13-7 overall and 3-1 in league play with two games remaining. The team is in Cowichan today (Friday) and close it out in Nanaimo at Dover Bay Secondary next Tuesday, then have a week off before the start of the playoffs.
The six-team North Island finals are back at Dover and the top four advance to the Island finals.
THE WHALERS were coming off a strong showing at the Cedar invitational senior boys basketball tournament last weekend where they shelled the host Spartans 93-39, came up short 68-62 against Mennonite Educational Institute, then dominated their AA counterparts from Highlands and Ladysmith.
“We finished the tournament with the best plus/minus I have ever heard of,” said Bigelow, pointing out the Whalers’ outscored their opponents by 110 points, including the loss.
“We finished five and one this week and improved our overall record to 13 and 7 … it was an extremely good week for Whalers basketball.”
A reminder Kwalikum Secondary School will be hosting the junior girls district playdowns Friday and Saturday.
The Kondors are scheduled to open today at noon.