Kings pull out close victory over Lethbridge
A year ago the RDC Kings played the role of underdogs to perfection in the Alberta Colleges Men’s Basketball League.
They didn’t exactly sneak up on anyone, but they weren’t looked at as one of the elite teams until they finished second in the league to the Mount Royal University Cougars and went on to take fourth in the Canadian championships.
With the Cougars gone this season to the CIS, the Kings are the highest placed team from last season and they will have a bull’s-eye on their backs. They won’t go into any game without the opposition gunning for them.
That may have been evident Thursday as the Kings had their hands full before pulling out an 86-72 victory over the Lethbridge Kodiaks as part of the Ramada Inns Royalty Classic tournament at RDC.
“We’re in a unique situation this season,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger.
“Last year we didn’t have any pressure on us. This year the guys feel a little bit of that pressure and nervousness of being front runners. So it’s a whole new learning process. We’re learning to play from the front.”
The Kings led by as much as 18 but the Kodiaks put on a second-half surge that saw them narrow the gap to six.
“We had significant leads in both games (Thursday and Wednesday’s meeting with the Canadian University College of Lacombe) and in both games we had lapses that allowed the other teams to make a run,” added Pottinger.
“Whether it was turnovers, or whatever, we let down. But the good news is we’re still getting better and growing and hopefully we reach the level we were at last season.”
While you had to give the Kodiaks credit for the comeback, Pottinger would have liked better defence,
“They can shoot for sure, and thankfully they didn’t shoot as well as I’ve seen them, but we made a whole lot of defensive errors, which we have to fix.”
It was also the Kings second game in as many days while the Kodiaks were seeing their first action in the tournament.
“It could made a difference, but I think our conditioning is good, The games are actually easier than our practices. I don’t want to make excuses as I don’t think conditioning was a factor tonight.”
The Kings also ran into some foul trouble with Sam Lolik fouling out and three other forwards — Rob Pierce, Joel Carroll and Brian Prenoslo — all with four.
“That made a difference, but that’s basketball,” said Pottinger. “We have to play even with foul trouble or injuries. The other guys have to step up.”
Carroll led the Kings with 21 points while Pierce added 16, despite missing a large chunk of the second half, Lloyd Strickland 11, Lolik 10, David Poole nine and Ashaunti Hogan eight. Craig McMurray had 15, Lydan Nummi 14 and Travis Butt 10 for the Kodiaks, who face CUC today at 2 p.m. and Olds Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Kings clash with Olds today at 8 p.m.
Olds beat CUC 84-80 Thursday.
The RDC Queens meet St. Mary’s College of Calgary today at 6 p.m. and Ambrose College of Calgary Saturday at noon.
l The RDC Kings volleyball squad downed Briercrest Bible College Clippers 18-25, 25-20, 25-11, 14-25, 19-17 in an exhibition match in Three Hills.
“Very inconsistent,” said Kings head coach Aaron Schulha.
“But that’s why we play exhibition matches, to work on that.”
Sam Brisbane, a first-year setter from Australia, was the Kings player of the match with six stuff blocks and 10 digs.
“He came off the bench and gave us a lift,” said Schulha. “He did a good job at the net and made several digs at key times.”
Schulha also felt libero Pat McIntyre had his best match of the season.