Okanagan College men’s guard Matt Lafontaine (left) and Danielle Ruocco of the Coyotes’ women’s team both had big games for their respective teams on opening weekend of the 2017-18 season. -Image: Ken Reid/Greystoke Photography

Coyotes’ launch inaugural hoops season

Okanagan College basketball programs host Ambrose in first ever exhibition games.

Okanagan College’s basketball programs are off and running as the Coyotes played their inaugural games in front of large, enthusiastic crowds last weekend at Immaculata Regional High School.

The OC men’s and women’s teams each played host to Calgary’s Ambrose University Lions in a pair of exhibition games.

In the opening game Friday night, the Lions pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the OC women 83-57.

Danielle Ruocco led the way as OC’s player of the game with 13 points, while Navneet Mann and Megan Admussen-Blair chipped in with 10 points each respectively.

In men’s play, a back and forth game saw Ambrose prevail 85-77.

Top scorers for the Coyotes were Curtis Wilson with 16 points and Jesse Vissia with 11, while the player of the game was Jeff Tubbs.

“It was a great evening and an even better crowd,” said Coyotes men’s coach Dino Gini. We would have loved to come up with 2 wins but we played hard and both teams got the opportunity to get a lot of players on the court. We know our identity and where we stand a bit more now. We have a list of things to work on and will take it from here to improve and continue to build our culture.”

After a quick turnaround, the OC women were back on the court Saturday at 11 a.m. and this time emerged with the victory in front of a full house at Immaculata.

The Coyotes came out firing with 34 points in the first quarter and went on to a 92-87 win over the Lions.

The Coyotes had six players in double figures, led by player of the game Ciara Bamford with 24pts. Megan Blair added 20 points in the win.

“Our team shot the ball very well from the three and adjusted to Ambrose’s press after Friday’s game, leading to a lot more transition points for us,” said OC women’s coach Andrew Gini. “We showed some obvious nerves in our first game, but we were really able to adjust on Saturday. I think everyone was more comfortable and played with more confidence and poise. It was really nice to get a win early on in our program.”

In men’s action Saturday, another close game saw another tight victory for Ambrose, 94-86. Curtis Wilson led OC with 25 points, while point guard Matt Lafontaine delilvered 19 points.

“We had a much better performance Saturday,” said Dino Gini. “We played with more urgency, and a better IQ. The most important thing is that we got better and more organized. We now have the opportunity to work on aspects of our game that we saw needed addressing after this weekend.”

This weekend, the OC basketball teams will head to Abbotsford for games against Columbia Bible College.

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