The high school basketball season is up and running, and local hoops fans will have a chance to get their first look at this year’s AAA Senior Boys squad from Ballenas Secondary School as they play host to a four-team tournament this weekend.
The Whalers open the tourney at 1 p.m. today (Friday) against the Golden Eagles from Woodlands; then return to the court for an 8 p.m. start against the Alberni and District Armada.
Ballenas’ final game goes 1 p.m. Saturday when they take on their counterparts from Pacific Christian out of Victoria.
2002 KSS alumni Taylor Wilson, now attending Vancover Island University, is taking over the reigns as head coach of Ballenas’ senior boys team this year, and assisting will be fellow former Kondor Tim Bigelow. Both played for the then Malaspina Mariners.
Asked for some insight into the weekend and into their team, Bigelow said “the toughest game we will have is our Friday match up against Woodlands,” adding the team from Nanaimo “has looked pretty solid thus far, and they are coming off a victory against ADSS. However, the game we need to win will be against the ADSS boys the same evening because they are in our league this year. It would be a nice statement game for sure.”
This year’s team he explained is a bit behind the competition on a whole as they have only been practicing for two weeks due to football and volleyball commitments.
The Whaler boys finished 1-2 in Cowichan last weekend at their first tournament of the season “and we secured an impressive game two victory against Gulf Island Secondary School with a depleted six man roster for the second half.”
“The boys maintained a high level of composure in order to hold off the opposition,” said Bigelow, adding both he and Wilson “are impressed with the team’s efforts early in the season. We have a fantastic group of young men this year and if they keep putting in the effort then we will continue to improve.”
The Whalers head into the regular season ranked ninth out of 10 teams on the Island in AAA Sr. Boys basketball standings — Victoria claims the top three with Mt. Doug No. 1, Oak Bay No. 2 and Belmont third.