Red Deer College Queen Gillian Griffin drives past Medicine Hat Rattler Cierra Matsalla at Red Deer College Friday.

Kings, Queens falls to Rattlers

The Red Deer College Kings have some work to do to get back into national champion contender shape. The Kings (2-1) blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead to lose 71-65 to the Medicine Hat College Rattlers (5-0) in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s basketball action in Red Deer on Friday.

Rattlers 71 Kings 65

The Red Deer College Kings have some work to do to get back into national champion contender shape.

The Kings (2-1) blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead to lose 71-65 to the Medicine Hat College Rattlers (5-0) in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s basketball action in Red Deer on Friday.

Michael Farion keyed the comeback with a series of three pointers early in the fourth quarter, finishing 6-of-10 from beyond the arch for a game-high 28 points while Desmond Slack knocked in 19 points and forward Pietro de Andrade was a beast on the defensive end with 10 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and three steals.

Matt Johnson led RDC with 12 points with grabbing four rebounds while Marcelus Clay had 10 points and eight rebounds and Jacob Cusmano 11 points and a game-high four assists.

It is a game Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger is not happy with.

“I’m going to put that on the coaching staff, we need to prepare these guys a little bit more for these tight game situations,” he said. “This is a team that is fairly new together and they still have a lot to learn.”

RDC held a 52-41 lead early in the fourth quarter when Farion caught fire, hitting three-pointers at will.

At 2:30 of the frame, he put the Rattlers up 55-52. RDC came back down the court and Cusmano answered with one of his own to tie it, but Medicine Hat still had all of the momentum.

MHC led 68-65 with 19 seconds to go. Coming out of a time out, Cusmano was given some space early and took a long three that missed and Medicine Hat recovered with 11 seconds remaining. RDC fouled and Slade sank both attempts to ice the game.

“We needed a little more execution at the end there, but in fairness to Jacob, he sees daylight, he believes he can make it so he tries to take the shot to tie the game up which wasn’t exactly what we drew up,” said Pottinger. “Can’t fault him, he was set and he’s a gamer. Last year he made that shot down in Lethbridge to win the game”

The Kings lost a little bit of their composure late, seemingly panicking in the offensive zone on several possessions which led to turnovers and missed opportunities.

It all sets up a big rematch at 3 p.m. this afternoon at RDC.

“We’re going to go back to the drawing board and see if we can fix a few things,” said Pottinger. “Medicine Hat … we believe they’re one of the best, if not the best team in the league. I’m not surprised it was this type of game tonight. We’re going to get better.”

Rattlers 62 Queens 47

The RDC Queens have played three games this ACAC season and have suffered three double-digit losses.

Following their 62-47 loss to the MHC Rattlers (2-3) on Friday night, Queens head coach Ken King made it clear that their excuse of a roster filled with first year players was no longer good enough.

“It’s a momentum game and when you have momentum you can’t be throwing it away by throwing up a bad shot or making a silly mistake on a pass or missing a help side and allowing a lay up, and that’s youth,” said Queens head coach Ken King. “I think I’ve reached my limit on using the first-year excuse, now ere at the point where that stuff just has to be there.”

Kennedy Werre led the Rattlers with 20 points and 17 rebounds while Alexandra Dooley added 12 more points.

The Queens responded with 12 points from Kennedy Burgess and 10 more from Morgan Dool while third year guard Dedra Janvier had nine points and seven assists.

They came out in the first quarter and actually took the play to the Rattlers, leading for most of the 10-minute frame and using their speed to break the Rattlers press.

But the veteran Medicine Hat squad settled in in the second quarter and out classed the Queens the rest of the way.

RDC was plagued by two issues, defensive zone break downs and poor shot selection. They allowed the Rattlers to shoot 43.5 per cent from the field in the game, including 46.2 per cent in the second half. RDC, meanwhile, shot just 25.4 per cent, including 18.4 per cent in the final 20 minutes. Worse yet was their three-point shooting, as they were a dreadful 3-for-18 from behind the arch — Janvier alone was 1-for-7.

“When we’re only hitting three threes, we can’t be taking 18 of them,” said King.

The biggest thing they can build on is they took far better care of the ball, cutting their turnovers almost in half from last week to just 20 this game, while receiving solid games from the likes of Burgess, Dool and Aneca Fretts.

The two teams face each other again this afternoon at 1 p.m.

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