RDC Queens head coach Ken King made a slight change in how they set up for their Alberta Colleges Women’s Basketball League meeting with the Medicine Hat Rattlers at RDC Saturday afternoon.
Instead of using the bench on the north side of the statistics table and under the Kings logo he switched to the south end and under the Queens logo. And while that had little to do with the way the Queens performed on the court, it seemed to work as they downed the Rattlers 67-60 before an enthusiastic crowd.
“As much as the bench thing seems minor it’s a switch in tradition, being in front of our logo,” said King. “The main thing is we played a different style than we have and it benefitted us.”
The Kings could have used some of that positive thinking as they dropped their second straight game to the Rattlers, losing 80-64.
In the women’s contest the main thing was the Queens played a solid game for the majority of the 40 minutes. Their only real letdown came during the first five minutes of the fourth quarter when the Rattlers went to a full court man-to-man press and cut a 14 point definite down to three points.
While the Queens got caught up in the high pace of play, which resulted in several turnovers, they were able to settle down when it mattered the most. Veteran guard Morgan Dool played a major role in that as she not only helped bring the ball up against pressure, but hit a pair of three-point baskets and dropped all four of her free throws in the final minute.
“We needed to overcome that moment when they came back on us,” said King. “We talked about how we were close before and let it slip away … this was a turning point.
“The girls deserve 100 per cent of the credit. They did everything to get us there. We had dips and lulls and they bailed us out. They deserved this win.”
King noted that the team energy was much higher than in a 64-60 loss to the Rattlers Friday.
“We used everyone and everyone had a positive energy,” he said. “The crowd certainly helped as well. We had another great crowd.”
There is also a positive expectation surrounding the team this year. The players and fans alike come expecting a positive outcome.
“Even when we lose the expectations from everyone is that we’re going to win,” said King. “We didn’t have that last year. We had expectations that we were going to lose. This is a good feeling win or lose, and it’s way better when we win.”
Dool was the RDC player of the game, finishing with 18 points and five rebounds. Emily White added 13 points, six rebounds and six blocks. Dedra Janvier had 11 points, Eva Bonde nine and Anna Houtman eight. Kennedy Werre had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Rattlers.
The Queens are 5-6 with MHC at 6-5.
Rattlers 80 Kings 64
For the second night in a row the Kings couldn’t match the intensity or the talent level of the Rattlers, who won 88-68 on Friday.
It was a little better effort than last night,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “But for the first time this season we faced adversity. We had some tough games in the first half but twinkle-toed through them. We were punched in mouth the last couple of days … now we’ll see what we’re made of.
“As coaches we’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop for some time.”
Pottinger felt the Kings set a high bar during the first half of the season when they posted a 9-0 record and averaged over 100 points per game offensively.
“We set the bar and already everyone is meeting it. They (Rattlers) met and exceed it. Now we’ll see how we handle it.”
Pottinger lost team scoring leader Ian Tevis at Christmas while newcomer Shayne Stumpf has yet to play and sat out along with veterans Tyler Wise and Benny Bankazo and rookie Rodney Teal.
All four would make a huge difference to the lineup.
“If you look at last year, Tyler and Shayne were two of the top four forwards in the South Division and they’re on the bench,” said Pottinger. “But even if we had those guys I’m not sure we could have swept this weekend. Medicine Hat is playing well and added a couple good pieces at the break.
“We’re sputtering. The first half of the season we made mistakes but shot our way out of them, Now we don’t have that scoring and we’re not getting out of those problems. We’re not running our offence. We’re not looking to run the offence, but just shooting.”
The Kings may not be playing up to their capabilities, but were still in the game until the fourth quarter when they may have ran out of gas as they used only eight players and several of those were bench players the first half.
“I have to point to the valiant effort of those bench guys,” said Pottinger. “They’re getting heavy minutes when they possible should be red shirts.”
The Kings trailed 31-15 after the first quarter, but were only down 43-38 at the half and 59-55 after three quarters. They were within three early in the final quarter, before going cold offensively and managing just nine point over the final 10 minutes.
The Kings still sit first in the South at 9-2 with MHC at 8-3.
The RDC teams will have their hands full next weekend as they visit Lethbridge Friday and Saturday.