By Nicholas Bueno/MCAC
“Next time I’ll get thirty.”
That was Mark Ridd, who finished the game with 29 rebounds and a Finals MVP selection.
After their attempt for a ninth-straight title was thwarted in 2017, the Rebels quickly got back on track with an MCAC title last season. They won their second consecutive Saturday at the Loewen Athletic Centre, beating the Providence Pilots 76-68.
“Feels unbelievable for the guys,” said Rebels head coach Scott Kirkpatrick after capturing their 10th title in 11 years. “They’ve been working since September, so it’s nice to see some success here. We’re big on winning the local championship.”
The game started out in a frustrating way for both teams. Red River shot 24% from the field while Providence only shot 18%. The game was not short of three-point attempts, with a combined 16 threes put up in the opening quarter.
The second quarter proved to be an improvement for Kirkpatrick’s squad, with Rebels guard Torrez McKoy scoring eight quick points while picking up three steals. Guard Kyle Queijo had three three-pointers at the half, and the Rebels lead ballooned to ten. Mark Ridd was impressive hauling in 17 rebounds by halftime. Ridd’s aggressive play was difficult for the Pilots to handle, with only one foul in the first half.
The Pilots’ defense kept this game fairly close, forcing 10 Rebels turnovers.
“It’s definitely challenging, but we have great coaches and we have so many mature players,” Kirkpatrick said of losing four players this semester.
The third quarter started well for the Rebels, holding the Pilots scoreless for the first three minutes. The Pilots answered every Rebels run, cutting a 13-point lead to as close as one. The Rebels seemed to have an answer with every push, as Queijo finished the quarter with five threes. Ridd had 24 rebounds at the end of three quarters.
“It’s a nice experience, it just feels unbelievable to win with this group of guys,” Ridd said of getting his first Finals MVP.
Ridd finished the game with a ridiculous stat line: six points, 29 rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal in 37 minutes of play.
“Prov is a good team, they got a lot of great shooters and they can get hot. It was nice to stop them on defense and keep chipping away,” Ridd said of Providence’s relentlessness.
After an impressive upset win over hosts CMU, Providence struggled to put up points efficiently. Shooting 31% on the game and only awarded 14 free-throws.
Nonetheless, this is an encouraging result for rookie head coach Pierre Dubreuil, who will be looking to take his squad back here.
The Pilots have three players heading into their fifth year: Kendall Perpall, Cash Blanca and Braxton Phommarath, who would love to bring the Pilots their first title in a very long time.