Led by Matear, Kings open championship with a victory

Along with 21 points, Matt Matear (12) picked up 1 steal, 2 assists and 12 rebounds against the Thunder. Photo - Tony Hansen
Along with 21 points, Matt Matear (12) picked up 1 steal, 2 assists and 12 rebounds against the Thunder. Photo - Tony Hansen

The ACAC Men's Basketball Championship opened Thursday in Medicine Hat with a talented pool of teams. Concordia University, NAIT, Lakeland College and the University of Alberta (Augustana) represented the North Division. Medicine Hat College, SAIT, Lethbridge College and Red Deer College qualified from the south. 

Thursday at 3:00 p.m., the Red Deer College Kings competed against the Concordia University Thunder. During the regular season, the Kings (15-6) finished in 4th place in the South Division while the Thunder (17-7) captured top spot in the north. The RDC Kings held the most explosive offence in the entire league (90.3 points) while the Concordia Thunder had the 3rd best defence in ACAC Men's Basketball (70.8 points against).

Good teams have the ability to elevate their game when it matters, and the RDC Kings went into an extra gear this afternoon. The Kings tightened up defensively and piled on 95 points as they opened the championship with a 95-73 victory.

Kings Basketball Head Coach Clayton Pottinger had his team ready to play from the opening tip-off. An energized Kings squad pushed the pace early and outscored the Thunder 28-15 in the 1st quarter. Shayne Stumpf and Matt Matear each scored 6 points for the Kings. Brett Jakubec led the Thunder with 7.

RDC's momentum continued in the 2nd quarter. The Kings picked up 22 points in the quarter compared to 11 from the Thunder and led 50-26 at the half. Over 2 quarters, Matt Matear stacked up 6 rebounds. Bevan Purnell picked up a total of 4 rebounds for the Thunder at the half.

The Thunder tried to push back in the 3rd quarter. Concordia University outscored Red Deer College by 6 points (25-19) in the 3rd quarter but the Kings led 69-51. Khurram Sultan led the RDC Kings with 5 points. Mike Malin contributed 10 points for the Concordia Thunder. 

In the 4th quarter, the Kings outscored the Thunder 26-22 for an important 95-73 victory. RDC won 3-of-4 quarters Thursday afternoon in the win. Ian Tevis was the largest scorer in the quarter for the Kings with 11. The RDC Kings were strong on the boards and outrebounded the Thunder 41-24. With 7 points, Brett Jakubec led the way for the Thunder. 

Pottinger was pleased with many facets of the game.

"The 1st half of the game was probably the best half of defence that we've played all year," said Pottinger. "While teams may try to key on Ian Tevis, it's nice that we had many players contributing."

The RDC Kings had many student-athletes score in a balanced offensive attack. While Matt Matear led the way with 21 points, Anthony Robbs stacked up 16 points, Shayne Stumpf contributed 15, Ian Tevis and Khurram Sultan each accumulated 13 points and Spencer Klassen chipped in with 11. As a team, the RDC Kings shot 52.9% from the field and 33.3% from behind the 3 point arc. Brett Jakubec led the Thunder with 29 points.

Next, the RDC Kings will play the SAIT Trojans. Earlier on Thursday, the SAIT Trojans defeated the Lakeland College Rustlers 86-74. 

"We've had close games against the Trojans this year. They took 2-of-3 games against us during the regular season" said Pottinger. "We want to stay out of foul trouble and will make some adjustments against SAIT. It should be a tight game."

The Kings and Trojans will hit the court Friday at 6:00 p.m. in Medicine Hat.