Kings to Nats with win over Grifs

Kings 93 Griffins 77 CALGARY — When the RDC Kings were talking about going to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball championship early in the season there were a few doubters in the crowd.

Kings 93 Griffins 77

CALGARY — When the RDC Kings were talking about going to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball championship early in the season there were a few doubters in the crowd.

Well they aren’t there any more.

The Kings secured a berth in the Canadian championships with an impressive 93-77 victory over the Grant MacEwan University Griffins in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference semifinals at Mount Royal University Saturday.

The Kings started a bit slow, but took control by the end of the first quarter and never trailed.

Point guard Lloyd Strickland was the RDC player of the game and rightly so. He came out on fire and hit nine points in both the first and second quarters.

“Lloyd kept us in the game early when some of the other guys, we usually count on, started a bit late,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “But that was a testament to our team work. When some guys aren’t going someone else steps up. The second half it was a great team effort. Sarain (Soonias) had a good game, Lloyd continued his strong play and Eric (Bakker) and Rob (Pierce) did their thing.”

You also had to add Joel Carroll to the group as he came in off the bench to rest Soonias and Bakker and finished with 11 points and six rebounds before fouling out.

Strickland finished with 25 points and six assists, and couldn’t have been happier following the game.

“We did start a bit slow and I had a couple shots go down, but the guys stepped up. This is a team game and we focused on the second half and did what we needed to. We’re going to the nationals and that’s a great feeling.”

Pottinger agreed.

“That was our goal from the beginning of the season. We didn’t talk about it all the time, but it was in the back of our minds and we built up to get there. Now that we’ve reached it we’ll concentrate on winning gold tomorrow and then the national championship.”

The Kings face the Mount Royal Cougars in the final tonight at 8 p.m. MRU beat NAIT 88-74 in the other semifinal.

There were several times during the game when it looked as if the Kings would run away and hide. They led by 16 in the second quarter only to hold a 40-29 lead at the half, then were up by 15 in the third period before seeing the Griffins narrow the gap to three.

“They have a good young team, a dangerous team, but we did a good job of preparing for them,” said Strickland.

“We worked all week on what we needed to do to stop their plays and we were successful.”

The Griffins reached the Final Four by upsetting the previously undefeated Lakeland College 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

“That shows what kind of team they have,” said Strickland. “They had a great season and best of luck to them tomorrow (in the bronze medal game).”

Pierce, who had a slow first half, finished with 23 points and eight rebounds while Bakker added 15 points and seven boards and Soonias 12 points and six rebounds. Anwar Faza had 25 points for MacEwan.

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