Kodiaks on the hunt for national title

Cory Richardson drives the ball forward toward the net.
Head Coach Ryan Heggie (right) and assistant coaches Tyson Pushor (left) and Taylor Jetten (centre) sit anxiously on the bench during Friday's home opener.

Head Coach Ryan Heggie (right) and assistant coaches Tyson Pushor (left) and Taylor Jetten (centre) sit anxiously on the bench during Friday’s home opener.

Cory Richardson drives the ball forward toward the net.

There is no hibernating for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks as they claw their way toward a national title.

First year recruit from Quesnel, British Columbia, Cole Crick brings his previous experience to the Kodiaks this year and hopes to inject some more magic in to the well-established core roster.

“One of the reasons I came to Lethbridge College was because I respected the way the Kodiaks play. I love the coaching staff and the atmosphere here,” said Crick.

Making his debut in the Kodiaks blues, Crick posted 10 points and helped secure a dominating win for the men in Friday’s home opener against the Briercrest Clippers.

Returning all-star Cory Richardson kicked off his second season with the Kodiaks securing 13 points in Fridays game.
With the off-season behind him the Kodiaks guard has his eyes securely fixated on his golden dreams.

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“My ultimate goal is to get to nationals in Montreal, take the title and come back here to design a really nice national championship ring,” said Richardson.

The proud Kodiak says for him basketball not only gives him a sense of freedom he can’t find anywhere else it also helps channel his energy into positive outlets.

“For me, it’s a way to express myself in a way no one else understands. I just find myself in this zone where the only thing that matters in that time is playing basketball,” said Richardson.

Crick mimics that sentiment.

“When everything is going right and you get into that grove on the court there is no better feeling,” said Crick
.
Both Richardson and Crick know a thing or two about being in the groove. Both men are key players on the Kodiaks starting lineup and posted double-digit points in games this past weekend.
Richardson says for him the game isn’t about the numbers posted on the stats sheet but more about getting the job done.

“When it’s a key moment and you sink a bucket you feel a huge rush. But when you score any other time it’s almost the feeling of, well I’ve done my job here now I have to do it again for the team,” said Richardson.

The Australian born sensation credits a lot of the team’s success to the supportive staff.

“The coaches here are great. Ryan Heggie is one of the best coaches I’ve had. Tyson and Taylor are great guys off the court and even better on the court. They are a great support system,” said Richardson.

Taylor Jetten played five years with the Kodiaks before taking his position as Assistant Coach last season.

Returning to the court in a different capacity allowed the sports enthusiast to keep his passion alive and mold a new crop of Kodiaks.

“Sometimes I would love to just be on the floor with the guys but other times I actually enjoy just giving feedback to the boys and watching them do what I can’t anymore”

The encouraging coach believes the feeling you get from coaching is a different sort than playing the game itself.

“When you come up with cool plans that get executed on the court and then it leads to a win, there is nothing more satisfying,” said Jetten

Having a good crop of guys has been a blessing for the two-term coach and he knows this teams hard-working nature and respectful attitude is going to go a long way this season.

“Everyone wants to be an all-star but that’s tough because you can only have so many on the team. Everyone else needs to just play their role because a successful team is more than just a handful of all-stars and this team knows that,” said Jetten.

The Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC) championships will be hosted in March by the Kodiaks, giving them a shot to punch their ticket to nationals at home.

Last year the men’s team claimed third place in the ACAC south division before toppling the top-ranked Medicine Hat College in play-offs, earning a conference silver medal.
They then capped the season by finishing fifth at the national championships in Prince Edward Island.

The Kodiaks have a chance to write a different ending this time around when the nationals take place in Montreal.

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