The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens needed a win.
After losing two in a row last weekend to the Briercrest Clippers the Queens Alberta-Augustana Vikings 74-47 on Saturday at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
Guard Sandra Garcia-Bernal led the way with a near triple-double of 14 points, 10 rebounds, and nine steals. Garcia-Bernal now has 120 steals this season and is two away from breaking her own record for the most in a single ACAC season.
Forward Janai Hubert also had 14 points on seven of 11 shooting from the field.
Head coach Avery Harrison said it was the bounce-back victory they needed.
“I thought that our defence was a lot better… We created the opportunities and once you do that the shots will come,” he said.
“We shot 40 per cent and it could have been a lot higher with the shots we missed.”
With the victory, the Queens improved to 11-3 and are tied for first in the ACAC South Division with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.
If by season’s end, they’re still tied for first with the Kodiaks, the Queens will win the tiebreaker based on head-to-head matchups.
Red Deer are now one win away from tying the Queens’ basketball record for most wins in a season, which is 17.
With two games to go the Queens could potentially tie it or beat it but it won’t be an easy path. Next Friday, Feb. 16 they’ll travel to Lakeland College to take on the undefeated Rustlers followed by the fifth-place Keyano College Huskies the next day.
The Queens also honoured their four graduating seniors including Sadie Jeffries, Heena Sidhu, Janai Hubert, and Sandra Garcia-Bernal.
Harrison, who’s coached in the ACAC for nearly four decades, said Garcia-Bernal and Sidhu are the best guard duo he’s ever coached.
“This has been such a fun group to coach. To get a chance to come coach them, watch them grow, and become champions,” he said.
“A loss is a huge deal now. In the last two years our record has been 34-9 and in the previous four years before this, the team was 32-48. We’ve had more wins than they had the previous four years and these four players were the catalyst behind it.”
Following the Queens game, the Kings pulled out a nail-biter over the Vikings 71-68 in a victory that came down to the wire.
Kings Efe Iyamu led the way with 15 points, and José Mauro Barrozo Júnior had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
With two games left, the Kings remain in third place with a 12-7 record.