The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens basketball team is looking to close out the regular season on a high note.
Riding an 11-game winning streak the Queens will have a chance to go undefeated in the second half of the season posting a 14-6 record. They’ll put that record to the test against the Concordia University Thunder Friday night at 6 p.m.
Currently, in second place in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) South Division the Queens have a chance to hold their position with a win heading into the ACAC Championship in Lethbridge on March 2-4.
Team captain Sophie Melin said their success in the last 11 games has been a product of their newfound motto after the new year.
One game, one quarter, and one possession at a time.
“Our goal has been to continue this winning streak but in the moment we’ve just been saying this is the game we focus on and then we go to the next one,” Melin said.
“Looking back at it it’s been great. We’re just focused on that Friday game to do what we need to do and can do to extend this winning streak.”
This season the Queens have shot the ball the best out of any team at 40 per cent from the field and 30 per cent from three. However, their defence has been just as important posting the second least points allowed per game in the ACAC with 57.4.
“I think our defence produces our offence. Our zone defence, the full-court press is pretty scary. And us getting all these steals definitely allows us to have a faster-paced game,” she said.
In the first half of the year the Queens struggled to find consistency but a win against the Lethbridge Kodiaks just prior to the Christmas break to kick off the streak has propelled this team to new heights.
Melin credits their communication, both on and off the court as the main factor.
“We know what our standard is and we shouldn’t go under that standard. We’ve been holding ourselves accountable for that,” she added. “If we keep this mindset I think we can go pretty far.”
Queens’ guard Amy Szymanek said the season has been nothing short of fun.
“It shows all the work we’ve been putting in and we’re getting the rewards from that. Our work started at the end of August and just seeing all of that be worth it is awesome,” she said.
Szymanek explained their composure, especially in the fourth quarter, has been their strong suit and has won them a lot of games. Even when they’re down they still believe they can win.
In order to keep themselves in the moment they remind themselves they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“Eleven wins is awesome but it’s not a championship. It’s not even a playoff win yet so I sometimes remind the girls of that but I think we’re just naturally humble,” she said.
In their minds, this is ultimately a stepping stone to their main goal of winning a championship. This team she added feels more special than in previous years.
“It’s the same personnel but it’s just a total different culture. [Head coach] Avery Harrison brings a lot of championship ways to us and how to make us champions,” she said.
“We’re all buying into the common goal as a team and we’re just putting in so much work for that.”