Ballenas Whalers Jacob Stockton drives past Nathan Stellard of the Alberni Armada during their challenge game at BSS gym on Wednesday. — Michael Briones photo

Whalers stop Alberni Armada to advance to North Islands

Ballenas to face Blazers tonight at 6 p.m. at Mark Isfeld gym

The Ballenas Whalers secured a spot in the North Island high school boys basketball championships, when they stopped the Alberni Armada 79-75 on Wednesday night at the BSS gym.

The Triple A North Islands starts today (Feb. 14) at Mark Isfeld in Courtenay. The Whalers will travel to the Comox Valley to play their first game against the John Barsby Blazers at 6 p.m. tonight.

The Armada dominated the first half against Ballenas. Forward Grey Barney had the hot hand, leading the Armada offence from behind the arc to score 16 points in the first half alone. The Armada led 19-10 in the first quarter and at the end of the half were up 22-16. They went on to extend their lead to as much as 15 points.

The Whalers struggled both offensively and defensively and it didn’t look good for the home team. But they worked things out particularly on defence, putting a defender on Barney. They eventually stopped the onslaught, limiting the Armada to just nine baskets in the third quarter and cutting the gap to 50-49.

The Whalers’ confidence surged up as they made key shots with Jayden Haftner and Jaxon Ackerman leading the way.

With just over two minutes left to play and the score tied 73-73, Haftner sank a crucial three-pointer with the 30-second clock winding down to put the Whalers ahead 76-73 . They never relinquished the lead, winning 79-75, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Head coach Dave Stockton credited the Whalers defence in the second half as key for securing their spot in the North Islands.

“We talked about it at the half,” said Stockton. “We had to shut down number 15 [Barney]. He was unbelievable. He scored at least three quarters of their points in the first half. When we shut him down, things changed.”

Stockton added that when the Whalers started to play with urgency and intensity, things fell into place for them.

“If we play like this every game, we’d have no problems winning,” said Stockton.

Jacob Stockton, who was key in the defensive and offensive boards, led the Whalers scoring with 20 points, with Haftner posting 17 points, Ackerman with 12 points and Chester Garviles with 11 points.

Armada head coach Craig Brooks commended the way the Whalers bounced back.

“We lacked a little bit of intensity coming out in the second half and we talked about not letting Ballenas off the hook,” said Brooks. “We continued what we were sort of doing and waiting for somebody to make plays. By then, when Ballenas start shooting and get into rhythm you can see what happens.”

Barney scored a game-high 22 points with Nathan Stellard netting 18 and Jayson Mathews 14.

There will be no time to rest for the Whalers as they take on the Blazers tonight at Mark Isfeld. Stockton said a win tonight will secure the Whalers a spot in the Island championships.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni homeowners wake up to would-be thief in their basement

Stolen items later found stashed at the end of the street

Shadow of Murder opens Feb. 21 at Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni

Classic whodunit comes from Canadian playwright Elizabeth Elwood

Wounded Warrior Run gets personal for Port Alberni RCMP participant

Run will come to Port Alberni on Thursday, Feb. 27; fundraising dinner planned for Legion Br. 293

Alberni Valley fire departments hold car wash to raise funds for Wounded Warriors Run

Come out Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to learn more about the run

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read