Jacob Cusumano really hates losing.
After the Red Deer College Kings blew an 11-point lead to the Medicine Hat College Rattlers on Friday to lose 71-65, the fifth year guard hardly slept at all.
Images of his late three-point attempt to tie the game that was off the mark kept rolling through his mind.
On Saturday morning for the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s basketball rematch, he got up early and was in the gym working on his shot before anyone else got there.
The extra work paid off as he scored a team-high 18 points to rally the Kings from a 12-point third quarter deficit to a 69-68 win.
“I couldn’t sleep last night, I just kept thinking about it over and over,” said Cusumano. “ I had to get back in the gym and redeem myself today and it worked.”
The Kings needed it.
After Friday’s collapse, the RDC coaching staff tried to change things up, including starting Cusumano on the bench. They trailed by three points at the half and then slipped further back in the third quarter. Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger scrapped those adjustments and RDC started to roll, outscoring MHC 22-12 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought today we just didn’t give them as many opportunities in the fourth to hurt us and we executed a little bit better on the offensive end and had ball control,” he said.
Brian Prenoslo was solid for RDC with eight points and 10 rebounds while Clay Marcelus also started to look more comfortable with the Kings after transferring in this off-season, posting 11 points and grabbing 14 rebounds and hit two key free throws down the stretch.
“Marcelus was big for us,” said Pottinger. “All those little things, in a close game between tight teams, those things get magnified.”
MHC was led by Desmond Slack who scored a game-high 21 points while Brazilian forward Guilherme Crabogiale added 17 points and six boards.
Despite the comeback against Medicine Hat, Cusumano says they have a lot of room for improvement as they continue to gel as a team on the court.
“We’re not even close to our potential right now, this is just the beginning.”
Rattlers 83 Queens 70
The RDC Queens played their three best quarters of the season on Saturday against the MHC Rattlers. The problem was the other quarter may have been their worst of the young ACAC women’s basketball campaign as they fell 83-70 at RDC.
The two teams went into halftime tied at 32-32, but Medicine Hat opened the third half with an 18-2 run and buried the Queens.
“At halftime we talked about whoever came out stronger was going to win the game and that’s exactly what happened,” said Queens head coach Ken King, who was quite animated on the sidelines.
“I know they’re working hard for us every single play, but … it’s got to be better.”
Ponoka freshman Morgan Dool continued her terrific start to the season for RDC with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, while adding three steals and three assists.
She has been the Queens most consistent player to this season, especially from an effort standpoint.
Fellow rookie Cassidy Hollingsworth, out of Rocky Mountain House, also played well coming off the bench with 14 points, including going 3-for-6 from three-point range, in 19 minutes of work.
“Cassidy Hollingsworth is going to be a star one day in this league,” said King.
“She’s got an exceptional work ethic and an exceptional attitude, she comes from a small town but she doesn’t act or play like it, she’s got some real world life skills that are going to be a real asset to her.”
The Rattlers were led by forward Kennedy Werre with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while guard Cierra Matsalla had 17 points and 14 rebound and Dakota Schacher had 18 points and seven boards.
RDC continued to cut their mistakes down with only 15 turnovers on the afternoon, but their shot selection is still hurting them, finishing shooting 31.1 per cent from the field and 28 per cent from three point land.
Some of that comes down to an in ability at times to create down low, with four shooters sitting in long range positions and no one cutting to the net.
“I don’t know if it’s a difficulty in penetrating or a lack of willingness to do so,” said King. “In the second half we showed we could get by them and we could get into the paint and we could draw fouls and make our shots inside. It just that a willingness to settle for threes is not something we want to do.”
RDC is at Olds on Friday and then host the Broncos on Saturday with the women going at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.