Bryce Phillips of Ballenas Secondary School, centre, goes up for a shot against a trio of Alberni District Secondary defenders during the North Island AAA boys basketball challenge game at ADSS Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

Alberni boys survive scare to eliminate Ballenas, 62-54

Armada basketball squad punches ticket to North Island tourney

Faced with the prospect of hosting the Senior Boys AAA North Island basketball championships as spectators, the Alberni District Secondary School Armada punched their ticket into the six-team playoffs with a 62-54 home win over the scrappy Ballenas Whalers on Tuesday evening, Feb. 13.

Jayden Moss scored 26 points — 23 in a decisive first half — and teammate Skyler Quesnel-Campbell added 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Armada earned a first-round date with Wellington Secondary of Nanaimo on opening night of the Feb. 15-17 North Island Championships at ADSS.

Ballenas, which had only one returning player from last year’s senior team, struggled through a rebuilding season before saving its best for last. Miyabi Yamasaki scored 15 points and Aidan Brot keyed a third-quarter rally with eight of his 10 points as the seventh-seeded Whalers pushed sixth-seeded ADSS to the brink in the loser-out challenge game.

“It’s the best game they played so far this year, and I’m just glad they saved their best for last,” Ballenas coach Kevin McMillan said. “The fact that they made Alberni really earn it today, I’m happy with.”

Alberni head coach Craig Brooks admitted his squad faced some pressure Tuesday night with the possibility of being eliminated from the tournament the school will host this week. The Armada will face Wellington at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, in the opening round of the North Island tourney. The top four finishers will advance to the Feb. 22-24 AAA Vancouver Island Championships at Carihi Secondary in Campbell River.

“The pressure (Tuesday) was about making it or not making it” into the North Island bracket, said Brooks. “And the nerves showed up, I think, in the early part of the game. As the game tightened up a bit, most of our timeouts were about settling down, rather than making any X’s and O’s adjustments.”

Ballenas, with a roster filled with players who came into the season having never played high school basketball before, actually jumped in front early, taking a 15-11 first-quarter lead behind four points each from Jimmy Schworan and Yamasaki, along with Jairus Abad’s three-point field goal. But Moss erupted for eight consecutive points — including a pair of threes — in the final 50 seconds of the period as the Armada eased ahead 21-17. The hosts maintained the momentum into the second, opening the period with a 14-2 run and building their largest lead at 38-21 with 1:03 remaining until intermission.

“In the second quarter the nerves left and they started trusting the system we’ve been running the whole time,” Brooks said. “We ran our half-court offence the way we’ve been doing it, and everything was clicking.”

But Ballenas, which suffered losses of 25 and 30 points to ADSS in regular-season league play, was not ready to go home. The Whalers unleashed a withering three-quarter-court zone press that forced a series of turnovers and Brot found his shooting stroke from outside as BSS closed to 50-40 entering the final period.

“This was a do-or-die game, so we put all our effort on the court,” said Brot, the lone returnee from last year’s senior team. “Everyone was trying their hardest, staying focused. A lot more playing as a team, for sure.”

Ballenas rallied to within six points at 60-54 with 44 seconds to play, but was unable to score again. Moss, who had been limited to a single free throw in the second half, closed out the scoring with a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining.

Bryce Phillips added four points and a team-high eight rebounds for Ballenas. Schworan finished with six points and seven rebounds. Alberni co-captain Rune Sinclair had 11 rebounds to go with six points as the Armada won the battle of the boards, 56-37.

“To come into (Alberni’s) house when it mattered, and make it a two- or three-possession game in the fourth quarter, I’m feeling OK,” McMillan said. “I’m happy with the effort those guys showed today; they executed as best they can, and showed they can actually play basketball at this level.”

[gps-image name=”10615477_web1_180213-PQN-M-hoops-sinclair-schworan-ackerman.jpg”]

 

Rune Sinclair of Alberni District Secondary School, centre, is challenged by Ballenas defenders Jimmy Schworan, left, and Jaxon Ackerman during the teams’ North Island AAA boys basketball challenge game at ADSS Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

Just Posted

Port Alberni gym puts the art in martial arts

Matt Goodwin, Shay Hebert offer kickboxing at all levels

Crime rate, drug overdoses still rising in Port Alberni

Major Crime Unit investigating drug trafficking files

Port Alberni business community celebrates excellence

Annual community awards portray diversity in Alberni Valley businesses

Port Alberni’s Community Policing office shuts down

Reopening unlikely to happen, says RCMP Insp. Hunter

Port Alberni man reported missing

RCMP are searching for Jacob Anthony Williams, 27

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

B.C. bill aims to keep Indigenous kids in communities, out of care

Changes to Child, Family and Community Service Act could connect MCFD, Indigenous communities

Condo contract rules target B.C. property flippers

Regulations to prevent property transfer tax evasion

Most Read