Local sport: Looking ahead to the second half of RDC sports season

Local sport: Looking ahead to the second half of RDC sports season

It’s the time of year when the RDC athletes and coaches can sit back and relax after a hectic three months.

But more important, it’s a time to get healthy, reflect on the first half of the season, and get excited about the second half.

No one is looking forward to the second half more than Queens basketball head coach Ken King. At times it seemed the Queens had as many injured players as those healthy. At one point in November, they had only one starter available in Maya Parker.

Missing were Emily White, who played in only two games, Eva Bonde, Madi Nimmo and Laura Bailey. As well, second-year forward Kayla Guillet has been out all season with a knee injury.

As a result, the Queens go into the New Year with 2-5 record, sixth place in the South.

However, what the injury bug did do was give the younger players an opportunity to play and guard Paige Schultz and wing Jessie Handley, to name two, did just that.

The Queens have also been looking for a three-point shooter.

Schultz gladly accepted that role and hit five of 11 in a 19-point performance against Olds, when the Queens had only eight players dressed.

The walking wounded are all expect back, the Queens hope to make a run at a playoff berth. They won’t have long to see where they stand as they travel to Lethbridge Jan. 12-13.

Despite the injuries, the Queens proved to be one of the best defences in the league, allowing a fourth-best 63 points per game, but scored only 56.6 points per start, which was 14th best.

The basketball Kings are in a similar position as they posted a 3-4 record and are also sixth, but two points out of third.

They, too, had a string of injuries with veteran Spencer Klassen missing all but one game, and veteran forward Kevin Szymanek misisng all the first half. As well, rookies Braiden Ousey and Barzin Eskandarkhah got into only three games.

The Kings are loaded with outstanding rookies in Omon Edobar, Dshawn Tyrell and Darien Valdes, who are averaging 22.0, 21.2 and 17.1 points per game respectively, and veteran Eric Bakker, who has shook off the rust after being away for several seasons. The Kings can score, averaging a third-best 91.1 points per game, but allowing a 12th-best 90 points per outing.

The hockey Kings and Queens appear ready to continue on after a strong first half.

The Queens are led by fifth-year forward Jade Petrie, who is second in league scoring with 12 points and first in goals with nine, and goaltender Tracie Kikuchi, who has a 1.21 goals-against-average (gaa) and a .951 save percentage.Kikuchi has four shutouts and over her past several games allowed only three goals.

Queens head coach Kelly Coulter has also been busy recruiting, adding goaltenders Miranda Cook of the Yellowhead Chiefs and Nisa Bartlett of the Central Alberta Amazons, and forward Hannah Petrie from Pembina Valley. Bartlett is a former member of the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs. Avery Lajeunesse of the Sutter Fund midget AAA squad has committed for the 2019-20 season.

The Queens are tied for first with NAIT in the ACAC with 20 points, one up on MacEwan.

The hockey Kings are second with a 9-4-1 record, and they went into the break with an impressive win over first-place NAIT. In fact, it was the only regulation loss for the Ooks in the first half.

The Kings will add centre Austin Hunter to the lineup as he returns from surgery.

“He adds depth at centre,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper, who is looking to “build on what we did in the first semester.”

The Kings will also have defenceman Mike Statchuk, and forwards Damien Kulynych and Jason Miller healthy. Mike Salmon also returned late in the first half from injury, and he was spectacular with a 4-0-0 record, a 1.48 gaa and .947 save percentage.

What helped the Kings this season is they have scoring. Veteran Dylan Thudium is tied for third with 20 points, while Tanner Butler is fifth and leads all rearguards with 19 points.

The volleyball teams appear set for the second half.

The Queens are second in the South at 9-3, while the two-time defending national champion Kings had a disappointing first half with a 7-5 record, which has them tied for fourth.

However, the Kings have only one starter back from last season in middle Adam Turlejski and will improve as they gain experience. Rookie middle Mark DeWit has been impressive as have the two rookie setters Tom Wass and Jacob Rapin.

Two interesting stats on the women’s side has power hitter Miranda Dawe with 927 career kills, 73 away from 1,000, and setter Chanelle Kayser has 1,725 assists, 11 away from second place all-time.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@reddeeradvocate.com

RDC sports

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

Just Posted

Heather Buelow, owner of Aerial Edge Studio in Blackfalds, says she has spent ‘all of my saving keeping the studio going’ through government-mandated shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Either open in-person or close permanently: Central Alberta yoga studio defying rules

A central Alberta woman is allowing clients back into her yoga and… Continue reading

(MaxPixel)
Sandra Schmirler Foundation donates $10,000 to Red Deer hospital

Donation will go towards electronic fetal heart monitoring project

A sustainability audit for Westerner Park suggested 33 changes, including more city involvement. (Advocate file photo)
Westerner Park expands volunteer program

As Westerner Park refocuses the organization, they are reigniting their emphasis on… Continue reading

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle
New regulator to stop sexual exploitation of children online: public safety minister

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government will introduce… Continue reading

Gordon Greenwood Elementary Grade 7 students were assigned to write about climate change. The Langley Advance Times is pleased to present a selection of their writings. (Sasha/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

OTTAWA — A new report shows Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he will vote against a… Continue reading

Eugene Kwon of Gratia Bakery and Cafe says the business will be relying on take out orders and a small patio. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

OTTAWA — A group representing thousands of the country’s small businesses says… Continue reading

Ron Howard is photographed at the "Inferno" film premiere on Oct. 25, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Brothers Ron and Clint Howard have memoir coming in October

NEW YORK — Filmmaker-actor Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, brothers, former… Continue reading

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins… Continue reading

Most Read