July 17th, 2024

Kodiaks satisfied with first half


By Lethbridge Herald on December 12, 2023.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward Lethbridge College Kodiaks' Payton Saxton converts a slam dunk at practice last week.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The young Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s basketball team head into the Christmas break with a 5-4 record in a first half that coach Ryan Heggie described as a season of momentum this far.

Heggie put that in the context of the team winning a few and losing a few.

“I’d like to be at 6-3 or 7-2 but we’re not,” said Heggie.

“We’ve taken care of business the nights we should have I believe and the nights we had to punch a little higher in the standings. With the exception of the Lakeland game, (I am) pretty happy with the way things have turned out.”

Heggie has learned in the first half is that his core of Filip Karanovic, Mason Hoffman and Declan Peterson have been consistent.

“They’ve been consistent with their on-court performances, our practice sessions have been fairly consistent with their leadership and so I’ve really got out of them what I expected and need,” said Heggie.

Heggie is seeing Trey Barton find his groove in his second year.

“With Trey, it’s all about confidence and just kind of picking his game up a little bit and with that he just needs to learn how to do that more consistently,” said Heggie.

Heggie had praise for Cody Tollestrup’s first half.

“Kind of a slow start for Cody but he sure found his groove at the end of the semester,” said Heggie.

“He’s one of our most consistent offensive shooters, he’s top three in field goal percentage, averages just under 10 points a game, close to five rebounds and he’s really just starting to find his groove. This is a kid who hasn’t played competitive basketball in three years.”

Heggie thinks Rhett Lewis has been consistent through the first half.

“His work ethic is sometimes unmatched,” said Heggie.

“He plays the grind game, so he’s always going to be in the mix. He’s always going to get rebounds, he’s always going to get loose balls, he’s always going to get those greasy buckets  around the rim, he’s always going to get some open jump shots at times.”

The team has found themselves in the top five in rebounds, plus seven in rebounding over their opponents and being a strong defensive team with not giving up a lot of three-point baskets.

Heggie would like to see the team be a better assisting team.

“We’ve lost some tough ones but against some good teams and then we ended on two wins against Med Hat, so we kind of went out on a high, which is super good (in)bringing some momentum into second semester,” said Hoffman.

The team learned that they need to play fast and need to defend in Hoffman’s view.

“We’re smaller, we’re less athletic,” said Hoffman.

“So, we’ve kind of figured that out in the last four games ,… in my opinion. We’ve kind of figured out who we are as a team.”

Hoffman wants to see the team’s momentum stay up in the second half.

“We’re 5-4 right now, so we don’t really have a lot of games that we can lose,” said Hoffman.

We want good seeding for playoffs. So I think we just got to stay focused on whatever team we have in front of us at that time.”

The Kodiaks will return to the court when they travel to Red Deer Polytechnic for games on Jan. 12 and 13.

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