Trojans edge Kings in thrilling finish at Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

Spencer Klassen (21), Eric Bakker (15) and the Kings had a tremendous effort on their home court, nearly toppling the number one seed in Canada. Picture - Colby Brochu Photography
Spencer Klassen (21), Eric Bakker (15) and the Kings had a tremendous effort on their home court, nearly toppling the number one seed in Canada. Picture - Colby Brochu Photography

Brent Forster – RDC

Red Deer, AB – The Red Deer College Kings pushed the SAIT Trojans, the number one ranked team in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) to the end, but were edged 102-99 with a late, clutch three from the Trojans' John Smith.

On the strength of nine points and two rebounds from John Smith, SAIT held a three point lead (18-15) at the end of the first quarter. Spencer Klassen and Ramiro Martinez Quintanilla Jimenez kept the Kings close, each scoring four points.

Ramiro Jimenez (12) Colby Brochu Photography

In the second quarter, Spencer Klassen caught fire, hitting a pair of three's and connecting from the field to swing RDC ahead by six (39-33). Ian Tevis, a former member of the Kings, hit a late jumper but at the half, RDC led 48-41.

Anthony Harper (4) Colby Brochu Photography

RDC kept their foot on the gas in the third. Anthony Harper struck from long range, giving the Kings a 15 point margin (59-44). The Trojans tried to chip away at the lead. Nicholas Molina drained a three to bring his Trojans within 10 (59-49) and after 30 minutes the RDC Kings were up 77-68.

Colby Brochu Photography

Back-to-back three's from John Smith and Nicholas Molina brought SAIT within a trio of points (77-74) in the fourth. After trailing the majority of the contest, SAIT evened the game at 96 with under two minutes remaining. With time ticking down, John Smith scored a tough three to provide SAIT a 102-99 edge. RDC had one final possession but couldn't connect as SAIT applied pressure. The Trojans improved to 11-0 on the season and stayed undefeated.

Kings Head Coach Claytong Pottinger was satisfied with the compete level. "I thought that we played well - we executed our game plan. As a coach, there is a bunch a stuff that I'd like to see done better but we really competed like we expect from this team on a regular basis. It speaks to the Kings' desire to stay alive in the playoffs," he says. "Our backs are kind of against the wall so these guys really don't want their season to end early. I think that was part of their impetus for playing well but I also don't think you've seen us play our best basketball this year, yet. The guys know that and time is running out. They want to at least show that they are capable."

The Kings sit in fifth spot in the south with 10 points, four points behind the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (7-4) and Medicine Hat College Rattlers (7-5), for the final playoff spot in the division.

Ramiro Martinez Quintanilla Jimenez was chosen as the Kings Player-of-the-Game, totaling 15 points and five rebounds. John Smith received the honour for the Trojans, accumulating 27 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal while willing his group to the road win.

"I loved Ramiro's toughness and his rebounding. Ramiro was out most of the first half with injury so that was probably the most minutes that he's played. He is just trying to find his groove in many regards," says Pottinger. "Then we added Barz (Barzin Eskandarkhah) to the roster. Once those guys get their game feel back, we will be pretty dangerous."

Barzin Eskandarkhah (13) Colby Brochu Photography

Spencer Klassen was excellent again, finishing with 32 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal. 

In a rematch on Saturday, the RDC Kings (5-6) will compete against the SAIT Trojans (11-0) in Calgary at 8:00 p.m.