The Kwalikum Kondors closed out their AA boys basketball league season with a 52-48 loss to Highland Raiders at home on Feb. 6.
Although the result was not in their favour, Kondors head coach Taylor Wilson was happy with the way the KSS senior boys team played against the top-ranked school in the Vancouver Island AA North on Feb. 6.
Wilson said the result showed the Kondors have improved.
“We played against this team in a tournament last weekend and we lost by 41 points,” said Wilson. “Highland averages 80 points a game and tonight we kept their scoring down. They played really well tonight.”
The Kondors also had a short bench, with only had seven players suited up. Wilson said one of their players had the flu and the other had a back injury.
The Raiders, who will likely be the top-seeded team in next weekend’s North Island AA Championships in Ladysmith, led throughout the game, retaining a margin of at least ten points. With just over two minutes left to play, the Kondors were able to cut the lead to 51-48 when Callum Saremba sank a much-needed three-pointer and, on the ensuing play, Kane Carnahan stole the ball and laid in an easy two. It forced the Raiders to call time out and when game resumed, Highland used up the clock to secure the win.
The Kondors were led by Nolan Lewis, who had 14 points. Arne Olefs netted 11 points and Carnahan finished with nine.
Kwalikum finished the league season with two wins and four losses. They ranked fourth in the Vancouver Island AA North standings and will advance to the North Island tourney in Ladysmith.
Wilson said the Kondors are going be seeded fourth and will likely face the Raiders if only four teams play at the North Islands.
“I heard that Brooks (Secondary) might not field a team, so it’s going to be just a four-team tournament,” said Wilson.
If the Kondors finish fourth at the North Islands, they don’t get to advance to the Island Championships outright said Wilson. Their spot will be challenged by the fifth place finisher at the South Islands because they have more teams, said Wilson.
“The match is going to be played before the Islands and it’s going to be a do or die match,” said Wilson. “Our goal is to win one of the games (at the North Islands) to secure our spot in the Islands. We have improved a lot and have come together as a team. There’s a lot of our players that have stepped up and have been playing bigger roles. So I am very happy with this team.”
The teams expected to be competing at the North Islands are Highland, Timberline, Ladysmith and Kwalikum.
Meanwhile the Ballenas Whalers lost their final league season game 78-60 to the Wellington Wildcats on Feb. 6 on the road. They finished in seventh place in the Vancouver Island North AAA.
The North Islands AAA will begin on Feb. 15 and will be hosted by the Alberni Armada.