Array

Array

Kings win second straight ACAC title

Winning a championship is rewarding in itself, but winning at home is altogether another thrill. “It was electric at the final buzzer” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger following the Kings 67-62 victory over the Concordia University College Thunder in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s basketball gold medal game before an overflow crowd at RDC Sunday afternoon.

Winning a championship is rewarding in itself, but winning at home is altogether another thrill.

“It was electric at the final buzzer” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger following the Kings 67-62 victory over the Concordia University College Thunder in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s basketball gold medal game before an overflow crowd at RDC Sunday afternoon.

“With the crowd chanting ‘R-D-C, R-D-C’, I had chills. It was awesome to do this at home, in front of our fans.”

It was the second straight league title for the Kings and third time in a row they’ll compete at the national finals, which are set for March 12-15 at Quest University in Squamish, B.C.

Kings fifth-year point guard Lloyd Strickland has played a major role in the Kings success, but he stressed the past doesn’t compare to Sunday afternoon.

“You can put all five years in one big bundle . . . one last game is worth the gold. This puts my whole career in perspective. This one last game (here) is all I can ask for.”

Tournament MVP Clay Crellin, who joined the Kings this year, agreed.

“The crowd was great, for both sides,” he said. “As for the MVP it was amazing, but every player on this team deserves this, especially big Sam (Lolik). It’s great playing alongside him.”

Lolik joined the Kings at Christmas.

“That a great way to play my final game in this gym,” said Lolik, who not only played basketball, but had a family and other work commitments.

“It was all worth it.”

The Thunder were the surprise of the tournament after coming in ranked sixth. They needed a final second three-point shot to upset Grant MacEwan 72-71, then downed Lethbridge College Kodiaks 63-61 in the semifinals.

They then gave the Kings all they could handle and it wasn’t until Crellin took over the game late that the RDC squad was able to gain any breathing room. Crellin hit a driving layup, then stole a rebound off a missed free throw and was fouled. He hit both free throws to put the Kings up by seven late.

“He was great down the stretch, but we also started rebounding better and playing better defence,” said Pottinger, who went 10 deep while the Thunder’s starting five all played over 37 minutes.

“Because we were able to substitute we were fresh down the stretch, which was key for us,” said Pottinger. “They were about seven deep and most of their top guys played close to 40 minutes, so we felt it was a matter of time before they started to wear down. But full credit to them. they came to play.”

“Concordia played their butts off,” added Crellin. “We watched them against MacEwan and we knew they would be tough. This was one of the toughest games we’ve played all season.”

The Thunder led 12-8 after the first quarter with RDC taking a 32-29 lead at the half and extended it to 49-41 after three quarters.

The Thunder’s defence was a key to their success during the weekend, earning them a wild card berth to the nationals.

“We’ve run a program for years where we’ve been solid defensively,” said Thunder head coach Reagan Wood. “There were periods during the season we struggled with that, but we were able to keep that up this weekend. We have a great group of veteran guys who know what it takes to win big games and they know defence is a key.”

Wood felt the free throw line and the Kings depth and experience were the difference in the game.

“We missed a few free throws (20 of 32), plus Red Deer is such a great team. They have so much talent, so much depth. Plus they made a couple of key shots down the stretch. But it was a well-played game on both sides.”

It’s the first time Concordia has qualified for the nationals.

“It’s exciting. We want to do our conference proud.”

While the final was a battle, Strickland felt the Kings needed to be at the top of their game in all three games.

“Although some of the scores didn’t show it, the whole tournament was close,” he said.

“That final was a grind. But at the same time it was more rewarding because we earned it. It wasn’t given to us. No one laid down for anyone. We definitely took it, which is the best feeling in the world.”

Crellin led the Kings in the final with 19 points and seven rebounds while Rob Pierce added 13 points and seven boards and Strickland 12 points. Lolik had nine points and seven rebounds.

David Shantz, a fifth-year guard out of Wetaskiwin, had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder.

The Kings reached the final with a 90-72 win over the NAIT Ooks with Crellin hitting 17 points and 14 rebounds while Mari Peoples-Wong had 16 points, Strickland 13 and Pierce 12. Yonas Berhe had 25 points for NAIT.

Lethbridge downed NAIT 81-53 to take third place while Grant MacEwan stopped Keyano 80-72 for fifth place.

• Berhe, Chris Maughan of Lethbridge, Shantz, Strickland and Peoples-Wong were tournament all-stars . . . The only negative of the tournament was the fact the RDC could have used more seating . . . Grant MacEwan won the women’s tournament in Olds with a 74-65 win over Augustana. NAIT stopped Lethbridge 78-75 for third place while SAIT downed Olds 75-67 for fifth place. On Saturday Olds beat Grande Prairie 85-71.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read