A key contributor in bringing the KSS Owls their first ever B.C. high school boys basketball championship, Matt Lafontaine has opted to stay right at home to further his basketball career and education.
The 6-foot-2 guard has signed on with the hometown UBC Okanagan Heat for the 2016 Canada West season.
As a two-year starter with the Owls, Lafontaine helped the Owls to a 41-4 record during that span, as KSS won the first provincial AAA crown by an Interior team since 1980.
The Owls also won their own Western Canada tournament in each of the last two seasons.
In Grades 8 through 12, dating back to his days at Dr. Knox, his teams reached the provincials every, never finishing lower than fifth, winning B.C. tiles with the Falcons in 2012 and Owls in 2015.
Coming dedicated from a basketball family in Kelowna, Lafontaine is excited to be suiting up for the Heat program this coming season.
“Basketball is life,” said Lafontaine. “I am excited to make the jump into university ball and know that I will have to work hard, but I am confident that (Heat) coach (Pete) Guarasci and the team can get me up to speed.”
Guarasci said Lafontaine will bring a whole range of assets to the Heat in 2016-17.
“Matt has proven to be a winner at every level he’s played at since Grade 8,” said Guarasci who is heading into his fifth season as UBC’s head coach. “We’re hoping he continues that tradition with UBCO. We’re excited to add his skill set and basketball IQ to our backcourt and we look forward to helping him develop.”
Lafontaine rates his shooting and passing as his biggest assets, but also
“I think my biggest strengths are shooting and passing, I also like to think that I’m unselfish as a player and am extremely competitive,” said Lafontaine who is a lights-out shooter.
He set a KSS record by making 15 threes in a league game this season, finishing the game with a personal-best 47 points. On a well-rounded Owls team Matt averaged 14.9 points per game and made 70 threes this past season.
Even with the stellar resume the future member of the Heat, who has enrolled in the management program at UBC Okanagan, he remains realistic in his expectations for university.
“As a player I hope to just get better,” the soon-to-be freshman says. “I’m not expecting a lot minutes wise for my first year but I plan to make the best of it. I’m very excited to play for coach Guarasci.”
“I love the idea of playing in my home town,” continues the Owl, “and I am looking forward to playing with fantastic players like (former Owl) Mitch Goodwin.
“Having my family and friends be able to continue to support me is a huge benefit of staying in Kelowna. We used to live right beside UBCO so we would come up and watch the Heat games all the time. I am excited to be part of the Heat program.”
Matt will join KSS teammate Nav Sidhu on the Heat team next year as first-year players, both of whom will follow in the line of Buzz Truss and Goodwin, as highly sought after recruits who elected to stay home and play with coach Guarasci and the Heat.