Ballenas Whalers senior girls basketball team proudly show off the AAA Island Championship trophy. (Submitted photo)

Ballenas Whalers clinch Island high school girls hoop championship

Parksville squad advances to AAA provincials in Langley

The Ballenas Whalers senior girls basketball team are headed to the provincial championships in Langley, Feb. 26-29

The Whalers won the Island AAA Girls Basketball Championships, hosted by Nanaimo’s Wellington Secondary, on Feb. 15 after beating a familiar nemesis, the North Island top seed Isfeld Ice 59-48 in the final.

It was a morale-boosting and payback win for the Whalers, who lost by two points against the Ice in the final of the North Island championships.

It was a clash of the titans as the Whalers was led by their towering six-foot-four forward Abigail Becker, while the Ice had six-foot-one Harriette Cunningham.

It was a tough game as the Ice built up a 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Whalers battled back and closed the gap at the end of the first half to just a point 28-27. They didn’t let up in the third and fourth quarter.

With Becker, who ended up with game high 40 points, leading the offence, they led by as much as 10 points and never looked back.

Becker was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She is graduating this year and is committed to play for the University of Victoria Vikes women’s team next school year.

Two Whalers, Kaelin Sundberg-Groot and Cassidy Kellow, were named to the first and second all-star teams, respectively.

READ MORE: Canadian basketball legend Bill Robinson dead at 71

The Whalers are holding a couple of fundraisers to help them with the cost to travel to the provincials.

The first one is a firewood permit sale happening on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 22-23. Each permit costs $40, with $20 going to the Whalers. It will be sold at Island Timberlands in Nanaimo. They will also be selling 50/50 squares for $10 on Facebook, for a chance to win a $500 prize.

• The Kwalikum Kondors senior boys basketball team advanced to the Island Championships this week, after finishing fourth in the AA North Islands they hosted at KSS Feb. 13-15.

After losing to Gulf Islands Scorpions in their opening game, the Kondors bounced back to beat Highland Raiders 57-44 and then took on Shawnigan Athletics for third and fourth.

Unfortunately, they lost 57-44 ,but still earned one of the five berths for the provincial championships.

The Island Championships will take place at Brentwood College in Mill Bay, Feb. 20-22. The Kondors will play their first game against Lambrick Park Lions today (Thursday).

Meanwhile, the Kondors senior girls team played at the AA Island Championships that was hosted by Shawnigan.

The Kondors advanced to the Islands when one of the schools pulled out of the tournament.

They played well according to coach Ruth Stefanek, finishing tied for fifth.

• The Ballenas Whalers and Kwalikum Kondors Grade 8 girls teams clashed in the final of the School District 68/69 basketball championships.

It was an exciting match that saw both teams battle hard.

The Whalers edged the Kondors 41-39 when they sank the winning basket with less than 20 seconds left to play.

The Kondors trailed for much of the game by at least 10 points but made a strong comeback in the fourth quarter had a two point lead late in the game.

The Whalers were able to tie it up.

Both teams had equal chances to pull ahead but missed a lot of scoring opportunities.. It was the Whalers that got the lucky break and scored the winning shot.

B.C. High School BasketballParksville

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