Hoops teams well-positioned for playoffs

Wellington Wildcats guard Julie Zhao, front, gets past a Ballenas Whalers opponent en route to the basket during a 68-41 win on Tuesday at the Wellington Secondary School gym. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Wellington Wildcats guard Julie Zhao, front, gets past a Ballenas Whalers opponent en route to the basket during a 68-41 win on Tuesday at the Wellington Secondary School gym.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo’s high school basketball teams have reason to be optimistic as playoffs tip off on Thursday (Feb. 14).

Wellington Secondary School’s senior AA boys and senior AA girls will both be going in as top seeds in their respective North Island championship tournaments.

The Wellington Wildcats senior girls wrapped up an undefeated regular season on Tuesday night, defeating the Ballenas Whalers 68-41. Victoria Brown scored a game-high 26 points and Sara Simovic added 18.

“We started off a little slow, but then we picked it up in the second half and got up by quite a bit,” Simovic said. “We started to push the ball more and fast break and we got points that way.”

In other senior AA girls’ action Tuesday, the Cedar Spartans defeated the Woodlands Eagles 54-45 at the Woodlands gym.

The Spartans’ Stefanie Talboys was top scorer with 26 points and T.J. Andjelkovic led the Eagles with 15.

North Islands start Thursday in Courtenay. Wellington gets a first-round bye while Cedar will face Kwalikum, Woodlands plays host Isfeld and Nanaimo District takes on Ballenas.

Welly's girls are favoured to be one of the teams to advance to Islands in Victoria, but will try to avoid the temptation to look too far ahead.

"We'll just have to be really focused ab play really hard, put lots of effort in," Simovic said.

The senior AA boys’ North Islands, meanwhile, will be played at the Wellington Secondary School gym.

Welly’s senior boys not only have home-court advantage and the No. 1 seed, but they also have momentum. The Wildcats won last weekend’s tournament at Cedar and Woodlands, defeating the senior AAA Dover Bay Dolphins in the final.

The ’Cats get Highland in Thursday’s first round at 2 p.m. Other local teams involved are the NDSS Islanders and Woodlands Eagles.

ND qualified for playoffs thanks to a 75-41 win over Timberline on Tuesday. The Isles play Isfeld on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. followed by Woodlands versus Kwalikum at 7 p.m.

The Cedar Spartans senior AA boys lost their regular-season finale to Highland and missed the playoffs.

Senior AAA girls’ North Islands start Thursday at Port Alberni. The Dover Bay Dolphins will be looking to come out with a favourable seed to help them at Islands, which will be played Feb. 21-23 at the Dover gym.

The Dover Bay senior AAA boys still have one league game left before playoffs as they are scheduled to visit the Alberni Armada on Friday (Feb. 15).

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