Make it back-to-back league titles for the Ballenas Secondary School Whalers senior girls basketball team, who wrapped up the league title with a victory over the Mark Isfeld Ice (Courtenay) last week.
The Whalers girls, who have now gone unbeaten in 14 straight league games dating back to the start of the 2013-2014 season, will go into the North Island playoffs as the number one seed for the second year in a row as well.
It was senior night this past Tuesday, as the Whalers played host to the Barsby Bulldogs (Nanaimo) after clinching their league title last week.
The Whalers were in control from the opening tip, cruising to a 69-31 victory.
“It’s quite a feat, being able to go unbeaten in league play two seasons in a row,” head coach Daryl Britz said.
“These girls play well together and seeing the way they’ve come along in both seasons has been a great thing to watch.”
The Whalers were close to making the provincials last season but lost out in a heart breaker to Britannia (Vancouver) in a game that would have seen them make the tournament.
The Whalers did get a measure of revenge, as they were able to beat that same Britannia team earlier this year in a tournament on the mainland, a game the team had circled on their calendar from the start of the season.
Things are a little different this time around for the Whalers as they’ll be looking to continue sending a message to the rest of the teams on Vancouver Island, something they’ve been doing all season.
“We’ve been strong all season,” Britz said. “We’ve played some tough teams on the Island and we’ve beaten a few of them.”
“We had one game against Lambrick Park that we lost, but it could have gone either way really,” Britz continued. “If you can stay out of foul trouble and execute early on, there’s no telling what could happen in a game.”
Led by Grade 12s Chelsey Hoey, Sophie Palmer and Emily Robertson, the Whalers have a good group up front, but it’s the rest of the team that’s really come in to their own as the season has progressed.
“Our bench has been strong this year,” Britz said.
“We’ve had a chance to see what they can do at a few tournaments and in some of these league games too. It’s nice to know that they can step out on the floor and execute when it’s their time to do so. They really compliment the way that our team plays.”
Ballenas will play host to the North Island championships starting Thursday, February 12 and running through Saturday, February 14.
From there, if all goes according to plan, the Ballenas Whalers girls will be back in the Island tournament and will look to get past that final hurdle to qualify for the provincials.
“That’s the goal, to make it there,” Britz said.
“We were close last season and we know what we’re capable of doing. If we can play our game, we should make it back to the Islands and be a very competitive team there.”