Hoop Kings clipped by Falcons in final

Falcons 88 Kings 86 Winning silver is never enjoyable . . . there are always a lot of sad faces.

Falcons 88 Kings 86

Winning silver is never enjoyable . . . there are always a lot of sad faces.

After all the teams that bring home gold and bronze do so after winning their final game. The silver is awarded to a team, or individual coming off a loss.

That’s the way the RDC Kings felt Saturday after dropping an 88-86 decision to the Langara Falcons of Vancouver in the Canadian Colleges men’s basketball gold medal game at Quest University in Squamish, B.C.

“I was looking through the history of the championships and all the team pictures, and the teams that finished second all had long faces while the other two were all smiles,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger.

“That’s the way with our team. It’s tough to digest right now, but as we look back we’ll realize it was an amazing accomplishment.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” added Pottinger. “They were phenomenal and played like champions. It still hurts, as we were out to win the championship and we had a great chance to do just that.”

The Kings led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons, who came in seeded No. 1, went on a 14-2 run to take the lead.

“When we got up by 10 we knew it was far from over,” said Pottinger. “The night before they (Falcons) overcame a 12-point deficit in about a minute against Vanier. There was a lot of game left and we knew they had a run in them.”

The Falcons went into a 1-3-1 zone defence, which upset the RDC offensive rhythm.

“We knew they would go into that and we were prepared, but by the time we adjusted they had come back.”

The Kings also went into a zone in an effort to control the Falcons guard Brody Greig and wing Elliot Mason.

“It was like a three-on-three, unfortunately their three guys made us pay,” said Pottinger.

It looked as if the Falcons had the game wrapped up, leading by seven with under a minute remaining. However, Kings veteran point guard Lloyd Strickland had other ideas. Strickland made three straight long distance threes to give the Kings a chance and when Greig missed his second free throw with 4.4 seconds remaining it gave the Kings one last chance.

They got the ball down court and had an in bounds play for one second remaining, but pass just deflected off Strickland’s hands.

“Lloyd was simply phenomenal,” said Pottinger. “We’ve seen him do that before against teams, but it was amazing to watch. He never believed the game was over and he summoned the power to get us back in it.”

Strickland finished with 34 points and was named to the first all-star team along with Clay Crellin, who had 24 points and seven rebounds in the final.

Fouls hurt the Kings, especially when Sam Lolik ran into early foul trouble and never got into a rhythm.

“Sam didn’t have a chance to get into the game. He wasn’t able to give us his usual 10 points and 10 rebounds. That hurt,” said Pottinger.

The Kings showed all weekend they were no pushovers at any time.

They opened the eight-team tournament with a come-from-behind 78-63 win over Crandall University of Moncton, N.B., after trailing by 19 at the half. Matt Johnson had 14 points, Crellin 13, Jacob Cusumano 11 and Lolik 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kings turned in a solid effort in downing the second-seeded Sheridan Bruins of Oakville, Ont., 108-91 as Crellin had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Strickland 20 points, Lolik 13 points and 10 boards, Rob Pierce 13 points and Johnson 10.

The Kings will lose fifth-year players Strickland, Cusumano and Pierce for sure.

“We’ll have our exit meet and we could have everyone back except for the three seniors,” said Pottinger.

“It’s unlikely they’ll all be back, but we’ll have a good core and with some good recruits our intent is to win the league again and get back to the Canadians.”

Sheridan beat Vanier 106-76 to win bronze.

l In the women’s championship in Saint-Lambert, Que., Montmorency of Laval, Que., downed St. Thomas University of Fredericton, N.B., 59-54 in the final. Grant MacEwan stopped Algonquin of Nepean, Ont., 77-53 in the bronze medal game.

l The Queens will have their ID camp April 5 with the Kings camp on April 6.