Rode: Building the Queens basketball program

When Ken King arrived at RDC he had an idea of what he had to do to rebuild the Queens basketball program.

He knew to have success he had to put together a solid core of veterans while adding recruits, who fit his team concept.

He’s getting close.

King has nine regulars and two girls who red shirted last season, returning to go with six solid recruits.

“The big thing we’re looking for is to get a solid culture with a solid core group to keep the continuity moving forward and we feel we’ve finally achieved that,” he said. “We can build on the concepts instead of starting over every year.”

And what makes the veteran group even more impressive is the return of Danish imports Emily White and point guard Eva Bonde, both back for a third season.

There was a strong indication that White, who is one of the premier inside players in the ACAC, may move on to the U-Sport, but she indicated she wanted to finish what she started at RDC.

“Emily indicated she’s committed to continuing what she started here two years ago … making a significant change to bring the program to the top of the league,” added King. “As for Eva she’s a traditional point guard, who passes the ball real well and doesn’t turn it over. She’s also an outstanding rebounder and one of the league’s best defenders. She could play 40 minutes if she needed to. She’s that quarterback for us.”

The third import — Hannah Foley from Conroe, Tex. — is also returning.

Two of the more impressive rookies last season — guard Brooke Kirkpatrick and six-foot forward Kayla Guillet — are returning and expected to see even more playing time.

Guards Lauren Bailey and Kaylee Kuba return for a third season with former Olds Broncos — Maya Parker and Mary Krause — in their fourth season.

Madi Nimmo of Hunting Hills and six-foot-three Riley Baquie of Didsbury, both red shirted last season although Nimmo played seven games late in the season.

“We continued to see the development of these girls last season and as long as they’re moving forward and not spinning their wheels, we’re excited about where we’re going … we’re going in the right direction,” said King, who added a pair guards from Red Deer this season — Jesse Handley of Hunting Hills and Shae Best of Notre Dame.

Both are playing with the Queens club program.

King added a pair of solid forwards in Lauren Cardinal of St. Albert and Mallory Uskiw of Beaumont along with impressive guard-forward Julia Friesen of La Crete and guard Paige Schultz of Saskatoon.

“We added girls who may need a couple of weeks to fit in, but if they’re anything like Brooke last season they’ll adapt quickly. We feel they all have a positive attitude and fit the culture we’re trying to instill here.”

The five-foot-nine Friesen was one of the more impressive players to come out of the provincial 2A program last season, leading La Crete to a silver medal at the provincials.

“She’s a spectacular kid with a great work ethic and the type of person we’re looking for,” said King, who has been watching Cardinal since Grade 9.

“I met her when I first arrived here and she’s been on my radar since,” he said.

King is excited about adding local talent to the roster.

“The goal of Clay (Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger) and myself is to build a solid local recruiting base and the last couple of years has been for good for us.”

What’s helped is the development of the club program.

“We’re excited to get the girls out of the club. Last year we got two or three and this year we have Jesse and Shae. We also have a U17 program that has six to 10 girls who have the potential to play college ball. It’s exciting to see them grow and develop, and to see them fit into our system and our philosophies.

“Last year I’m not sure any of the girls would have made the college team until they played club, and a credit to them they worked hard to get where they were. It’s the same with Jesse and Shae. You could see them working and when the light went off their level of performance went up, which is exciting to see.”

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@reddeeradvocate.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca

Just Posted

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month