Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Danny's Friday Forward -- RDC Kings guard Matt Johnson drives the lane on St. Mar's University Lightning's Carson Young

Kings keep rolling despite injuries

If there is a good time for the Red Deer College Kings men’s basketball team to have the infirmary filled, now is that time. With almost more players in dress clothes than basketball shorts on Saturday they still managed to beat the 1-11 St. Mary’s University College Lightning 93-67.

If there is a good time for the Red Deer College Kings men’s basketball team to have the infirmary filled, now is that time.

With almost more players in dress clothes than basketball shorts on Saturday they still managed to beat the 1-11 St. Mary’s University College Lightning 93-67.

Still King’s head coach Clayton Pottinger was not completely happy with the win that moved them into a tie for first in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference South Division with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks

“In the second half we really just let up instead of keeping our energy at a certain level,” he said. “Those are the little things that will separate the good teams from the great teams is being able to play at your clip for the entire game, rather than playing to the score or whatever the case may be.”

RDC had just eight players healthy for the game against the Lightning, and were led by guard Tyler Wise who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jacob Cusumano had 20 points while point guard Matt Johnson had 14 points, six assists and three steals.

They also received a solid effort out of reserve players like Mike Zurakowski (12 point in 14 minutes), Riley McCallum and Joel Carrol.

“There’s no surprise to us, we see them do that every day in practice, guys like Riley and Mike spend a lot of time trying to get ready for their opportunity so that when they do come they will perform just like,” said Pottinger. “I think sometimes they out perform the guys playing ahead of them (in practice).”

The Lightning were overmatched with a roster made up largely of first year players, including their top three scorers from Saturday’s game Charnjot Gill who finished with 17 points, Quinn Taylor with 10 points and Austin Smutko with 11 points.

Up next for the Kings is a trip to Caronport, Sask., to face the Briercrest Clippers (1-9).

Lightning 66 Queens 57

The RDC Queens (0-10) remained without a win this season after falling 66-57 to the STMU Lightning (5-5) on Saturday at RDC, but there are finally some signs for hope for the club.

For starters, it was the first game all season when the point differential was kept to single digits, and they also saw the long awaited emergence of veteran forward Amber Smith, who scored all 10 of her points in the fourth quarter.

For a team as undersized as the Queens, if they can get a second forward going to compliment Ann Stewart, who has been banged up recently, it will go a long way to any future success.

“To have that second big to really start rolling and be strong and confident, not only scoring but rebounding, is huge for us,” said Queens head coach Ken King. “We’ve been coming out of weeks constantly where our top two rebounders are guards and now we’ve finally got our posts rebounding a bit. They’ve shown they can be tough at times, we just need to expand on those times.”

RDC was led by guard Dedra Janvier with 20 points while Kennedy Burgess added 14 points and six assists, and Morgan Dool had another strong defensive game with 10 defensive rebounds and two steals to go with her five points and two assists.

They did well to keep pace with the Lightning through most of the game, even cutting the STMU lead to three points during the fourth quarter, but they could not get past their own mistakes.

The Queens still turned the ball over 25 times and often over thought things in the offensive zone too much — rather than reading and reacting — leading to ill-advised passes or missed opportunities.

“I think a major part of it is the fear of making a mistake … and you can’t be afraid to make a mistake,” said King. “Generally that fear and that tentativeness and passiveness turns into a turnover anyway. We’ve been preaching that for a while but we still see that fear.”

The Lightning were led by Kassandra Harkema with 13 points and 10 rebounds while RJ Ritchie had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Queen will have an opportunity to get their first win of the season next weekend with their trip to play the Briercrest Clippers, the only other winless team in the ACAC South Division.

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