Struggling to make their shooting stroke in last Thursday’s AA basketball game, the Ballenas senior girls had to find another solution to getting past visiting Wellington Secondary.
They found it in their defence.
Trailing 13-8 after one period and clinging to a three-point lead at halftime, the Whalers limited the Wildcats of Nanaimo to a single third-quarter basket and never let up while cruising to a 65-37 win in their final 2016 game.
“We just weren’t making shots,” Ballenas coach Brian Spray said of his team’s cold start. “What changed was, they finally started making shots.”
“Actually, they dialed up their defence. And that led to them making more shots.”
Grade 12 guard Kate Reynolds followed a recent pattern of slow starts and hot finishes, scoring 22 of her game-high 28 points in the second half. Fellow backcourt standout Makayla Hoey, who scored 10 straight second-quarter points to turn a 15-10 deficit into a 20-15 lead, finished with 27.
Ballenas forward Samantha Dimter looks to pass while surrounded by Wellington opponents during their senior girls AA basketball game Thursday at Ballenas Secondary School. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS
Veronica Wong beat the second-quarter buzzer with a basket that left the Wildcats trailing just 23-20 at the break. But Ballenas came out of intermission with a smothering defence that forced three shot-clock violations by Wellington in as many minutes. They were part of a string of turnovers that launched the Whalers on a 21-3 run for the 10-minute quarter.
“They came out and made six or seven stops in a row, and then we were scoring at the other end,” said Spray. “Once we started making some shots, they kind of fed off each other.”
Only a three-point basket by McCalli Franklin prevented the Wildcats from being shut out in the period. Ballenas kept up the pace in the fourth quarter, pushing its lead as high as 58-26 before Wellington staged a brief, belated comeback against the Whalers’ reserves.
After breaking for the Christmas holiday, the Ballenas girls will return to action Jan. 10 with a home game against Carihi of Campbell River.
Whalers 65, Wildcats 37
Wellington 13 7 3 14—37
Ballenas 8 15 21 21—65
WSS — McCalli Franklin 11, Shaylie Jobbagy 11, Wong 6, Fashina-Bombata 4, Giesbrecht 3, Boas 2.
BSS — Kate Reynolds 28, Hoey 27, Mclellan 4, Greenshields 2, Friesen 2, Dimter 2.