Broncos knocked out early at ACAC men’s basketball championship

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Olds College’s men’s basketball team went two-and-out at the ACAC championship over the weekend, finishing without a medal at the playoff tournament, which they hosted.

The Broncos were eliminated from medal contention early, losing 99-81 to the NAIT Ooks in the quarter-finals. The day after, they bowed out of the consolation round with an 84-78 loss to Lakeland College.

In the end, NAIT won gold; Medicine Hat College, silver; and Keyano College, bronze.

“It’s a disappointing end to a difficult situation we were in. It was not the way we expected our season to finish,” said associate head coach Stephen Anthony.

Anthony is stepping down from coaching to focus full-time on his marketing and communications job with the college. His involvement with basketball will remain with coaching his 12-year-old daughter Madison, who plays at Deer Meadow School.

That leaves the newly-hired Mike Stevens to helm the program.

Take a look at ACAC history over the past five years and it shows that good teams stay good. The same schools qualify for the championship just about every year. In the south, it’s Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge; NAIT, Lakeland and Keyano from the north.

Stevens inherits a team about to join those ranks, having just made two straight playoff appearances.

“I think coach (Ben) Julius before me here, in conjunction with coach Steve, they did a great job laying a solid foundation for a solid program. Now I’m reaping the benefits as a coach as I go out into the community and recruit. People have heard about Olds, they know about Olds, they’ve been looking at Olds,” Stevens said.

“When it comes down to it, (players) want a program they can win at. They want a program that’s shown it’s had some success. They want to come into a culture where they think they can become better as players. And as always, the overarching umbrella is academics — they can get their education.”

The culture Stevens wants to create can be summed up by his four Ps: passion, poise, purpose and pace.

On passion: “playing basketball and going to school is not an easy thing to do so you’ve really got to love it. Translating to on the court, you gotta be excited about what you’re doing and really getting after it and show that you care.

“Poise is being able to do the right thing when nobody’s watching. So off the court, you gotta get in the weight room. You’ve got to get shots up, you got to get your sleep, take care of your body. On the court, you saw it out here, you get in those tense moments, you’ve got to have the poise to run your stuff.

“Purpose is just remembering why you’re doing it, why are you here. So coming back to the student-athlete. You’re here to be a student-athlete and there’s a reason why ‘student’ comes first.

“And then pace, you put a time component on it. You’re not here forever, right? So you’ve got to get what you’ve got to get done, now.”

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jho@olds.greatwest.ca

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