MEDICINE HAT — For most of the Alberta Colleges Men’s Basketball League season the RDC Kings played with a target on their backs.
But a string of injuries in the second half of the season cost the Kings an opportunity to finish on top of the South Division standings. Although they were in a three-way tie for second, they went into the ACAC Championships seeded fourth with a date against North champion Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder.
As a result they were the underdogs and they seemed to relish that role as they came out loose, jumped on the Thunder from the opening tip off and rolled to a 95-73 victory.
“From what I saw they (Thunder) started nervous which allowed us to jump on them,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “Most of the season we did play with targets on our backs, but today we were the underdogs, which suited us.”
The Kings led 28-15 in the first quarter and 50-26 at the half. Although they were outscored 25-19 in the third quarter, they were never in danger.
“The guys were excited to get it started and played really well the first half,” said Pottinger. “The second half we cruised a bit and just made sure we were still in control.”
The Kings dominated the game inside, out-rebounding the Thunder 41-24, led by their big three – Matt Matear, Shayne Stumpf and Anthony Robbs.
Matear was the player of the game with 21 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. He was six-for-seven from the field and nine-of-13 from the line. Robbs dropped in 16 points, 10 rebounds and two helpers, while Stumpf had 15 points and six boards.
“Matt and Anthony had fantastic games,” said Pottinger. “We looked forward to the inside game as we felt we had an advantage there.”
Khurram Sultan added 13 points, ACAC player of the year Ian Tevis grabbed 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals, and Kai Greene had six points.
The Kings also dominated in shooting, hitting 52.9 per cent from the field compared to 38.2 for Concordia.
The Kings face the SAIT Trojans, who downed Lakeland 86-74, in the semifinal tonight at 6 p.m.
“They held the season advantage over us and this is an opportunity to get back at them and not only advance to the final, but to the nationals,” said Pottinger.
All eight quarter-final games in the men’s and women’s championships, were won by the South Division,
In the other men’s quarter-finals Lethbridge got past NAIT 80-77 and Medicine Hat downed Augustana 88-53.
At the women’s championships in Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Rattlers pulled off the biggest surprise when they defeated the North champion NAIT Ooks 71-53. The Ooks had loaded up this season as they will host the Canadians.
MHC faces St. Mary’s University, who downed Keyano 71-48, while on the other side, SAIT downed Concordia 64-48 and Lethbridge whipped Lakeland 91-35.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca