Brent Forster – RDC
Red Deer, AB – The RDC Kings entered Friday's game trailing the visiting Lethbridge College Kodiaks by only four points in the standings, but after a nine point victory (81-72) the Kings pulled within a pair for the final playoff spot in the south.
"It was gutsy," says Kings Head Coach Clayton Pottinger. "Our backs are pretty much against the wall every time we step on the court now."
On the strength of Lincoln Anderson's nine points and four rebounds, the Kodiaks took a five point lead (25-20) after the first quarter. Spencer Klassen led the charge for the Kings with 10 points and three rebounds.
Spencer Klassen (21) Colby Brochu Photography
In the second, RDC's strong defence dominated, limiting the Kodiaks to only nine points. Scoring 19, the Kings pulled ahead 39-34.
While Pottinger appreciated the tremendous game from Klassen, once again, he particularly enjoyed the Kings' ability to keep the Kodiaks' offence in check. "Spencer is typically leading us in scoring but scoring didn't win this game for us, our defence did," he says.
Only four points separated the teams in the third (18-14) with Lethbridge holding the edge but RDC remained a single point ahead 53-52.
Eric Bakker (15) Colby Brochu Photography
The Kings had many outstanding efforts in the fourth quarter, taking an eight point advantage (28-20) and capping off an important 81-72 victory.
"The guys are playing with a level of intensity that would indicate that our season could end," says Pottinger. "The way that we frame it is our playoffs started last weekend in Medicine Hat."
There were significant contributions from many student-athletes. "A lot of our guys had gritty performances. Khurram Sultan and Malik Smith down the stretch played great defence. Eric Bakker had a couple of big buckets for us when we went to him on the inside," says Pottinger. "Kevin Szymanek was a beast on the boards. It was a team effort."
Malik Smith (5) Colby Brochu Photography
Edmonton's Khurram Sultan had nine points and three assists. Malik Smith picked up 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and one steal. Eric Bakker, a Business Administration student, accumulated eight points and three boards. Kevin Szymanek chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Spencer Klassen was named the Kings Player-of-the-Game, totaling 31 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, one assist and one block. Lincoln Anderson received the award for the Kodiaks, finishing with 27 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Ramiro Martinez Quintanilla Jimenez (12) Colby Brochu Photography
On Saturday at 3:00 p.m., the Kings (7-8) will entertain the Kodiaks (8-6) at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. RDC will have an opportunity to pull even with Lethbridge College with 16 points.
Make Some Noise for Mental Health
In addition, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) campaign, Make Some Noise for Mental Health, sponsored by RBC, was recognized at the Red Deer College Kings game. The conference wide campaign was implemented to help create awareness and break stigmas surrounding mental health.
At the half, Matt Hope, a member of RDC Cross Country and Indoor Track shared his personal story about mental health.
Matt Hope Colby Brochu Photography
Finances are one of the biggest stressors for post-secondary students and RBC also donated $1,000 which will be used for a financial literacy course for learners. Students can preregister for a meal and class to learn about effective money management.