The Red Deer College Kings are getting ready for the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s basketball playoffs and it couldn’t be more obvious.
The Olds Broncos got a taste of where the Kings are, both mentally and physically, and it wasn’t to their liking as the RDC squad rolled to a 123-70 victory before a standing room only crowd at RDC Friday.
“We came in looking at the fact we have four games remaining before the playoffs and every game from here on out is like a playoff game,” said Kings guard JP LeBlanc, who was named the RDC player of the game with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.
“Olds came in on fire and our goal was to make a statement to the league. Now we have to make sure we don’t let up Saturday as they’ll come out stronger for sure.”
The teams meet again tonight at Olds with the women tipping off at 6 p.m.
“That was playoff style basketball and it’s the right time to do it,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “We really competed … It was a complete game … We executed the game plan better than we have all season.”
The Kings did fall behind 9-5 early as the Broncos came out red hot, but once the RDC squad got into an rhythm offensively the game changed completely in their favour.
The RDC squad led 33-20 after a quarter and 66-41 at the half. They upped the margin to 93-55 at three quarters.
Although they scored almost at will, their defence was as impressive.
“We prepped all week to defend and I believe that’s what won us the game,” said LeBlanc. “We have good players, who know how to put the ball in the hoop, but our moto is defend and get layups. We knew they have a strong offence and we counted with a strong defence.”
The Broncos are the highest scoring team in the league, backed by strong three-point shooting. They take 27 three-point shots per game and hit 10. On the other side the Kings are the best defensive team in the league.
“Our defence gave up 20 and 21 points in the first two quarters, but we held them to 14 points in the third quarter and 15 in the fourth,” said Pottinger. “They can score, but we did a good job of keying in on their shooters and preventing some of that.”
“They like to run a lot of high ball screens and space out their shooters,” said LeBlanc. “Our basic goal was to play the top with two men and allow the rest to close out on their outside shooters.”
The Kings also got a strong performance from their inside players. Tyler Wise had 20 points and eight rebounds, Justin Jarvis 14 points and 12 boards, Brian Prenoslo 16 points and two rebounds and four assists and Matt Mateur 16 points and six rebounds.
“The inside guys are starting to grind it out defensively,” said Pottinger. “It’s a bonus to get the offence but when you have those guys rebounding and scoring inside they’re tough to handle.”
Pottinger was able to use all 12 men on his bench.
“At one time we have five bench players on the court, including two guys just out of high school and our execution and intensity didn’t drop a bit,” said Pottinger.
Benny Bankazo added 12 points for the Kings while Kaleel Faiz had 20 points and Philip Jalalpoor 14 for Olds.
The Kings ran their record to 17-4 and will wrap up first place in the South with one more win. Fourth-place Olds is 13-8 and need a win to make the playoffs.
Broncos 65 Queens 41
The RDC Queens may have dropped a 65-41 decision to the Broncos, but they continue to play inspired basketball.
In fact, when Olds took six-foot-one Renetha Burton, a fourth-year post player from Phoenix, out of the game in the third quarter the Queens played even-up with the higher ranked Broncos.
“We showed, even with (American Danesia) Williamson back in the game, we can play and hang with them,” said Queens head coach Ken King.
The Queens trailed 41-16 at the half, but outscored the Broncos 25-24 in the second half.
“We work hard and no matter what the score, even if we’re ahead or behind by 20 we work hard for four quarters,” King added. “The girls deserve all the credit in the world for never giving up.
“One thing about our team is that we don’t necessarily drop off from eight to 10. Our bench players have been better than some of the other team’s bench players.”
Morgan Dool led the Queens with 14 points and six rebounds while Dedra Janvier added seven points and six boards. Desirae Paterson added seven rebounds and Kennedy Burgess had six points and eight rebounds.
Williamson, who is a fourth-year guard from San Diego, Calif., had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists for Olds. Burton had 10 points and Melanie Thera 20 rebounds.