The Okanagan College Coyotes’ plan to start the new year on the right foot was a success Friday night. The Coyotes beat the visiting Columbia Bible College from Abbotstford 101-88.
In the first of two games this weekend against the CBC Bearcats, the Coyotes are treating every game as a playoff game.
“We need these games. CBC is very good and they’re in every game,” said Coyotes assistant coach Doug Sperling. “They have guards that shoot well, and they play unconventionally and they play hard.”
The Coyotes and Bearcats went back and forth throughout the first half. Okanagan College was playing with the better team play, but the Bearcats’ point guard Gabe Mannes dropped nearly 20 points in the first half alone to keep his team in the game. Coaches Dino Gini, and Doug Sperling were smart to use as much of their larger bench as possible using all 12 of their players as they pushed the pace of the ball with every opportunity. Point guard Curtis Wilson would lead the Coyotes throughout, finishing with 19 points, but Trajan Boyd, who came off the bench, would secure a Coyotes’ halftime lead of 58-51 by drilling three back to back 3-pointers right before the half.
CBC’s starters and support players were not able to keep up with the Coyotes’ deeper bench going into the third quarter. The Coyotes would go on 13-5 run in the first half of the third quarter and start pulling away from the Bearcats with a 84-67 point lead at the start of the fourth. CBC would push back throughout the final frame, cutting the lead to as little as seven. But the Coyotes ability to switch and make substitutions for better match ups would stifle any sort of hot streak the Bearcats would go on, and give the Coyotes a 101-88 victory.
Coyotes’ Christian Willams had 10 points and six rebounds in his first game with the Coyotes, the centre also had five blocks as he protected the rim well in the final half.
The Bearcats’ Mannes finished with 39 points, nine assists, and five rebounds.
The Coyotes look to improve their 3-4 record when the two teams meet again Saturday for the second game at Kelowna Secondary School at 3 p.m.
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