Algonquin Wolves men’s basketball team split opening games at the ARC

The Algonquin College men’s basketball team has started the season hot with a 3-1 record. After winning their first two games on the road last weekend, the Wolves dropped their first game at home on Friday, Feb. 18 but bounced back to win their second game on back-to-back days. The Wolves won their season opener […]
Photo: Liam Fox
Nathan Garcia, a guard, surveys the floor. "It's just nice to play in your own building," he said.

The Algonquin College men’s basketball team has started the season hot with a 3-1 record.

After winning their first two games on the road last weekend, the Wolves dropped their first game at home on Friday, Feb. 18 but bounced back to win their second game on back-to-back days.

The Wolves won their season opener 76-73 against Durham College in Oshawa on Feb. 11 and their second 96-83 against Fleming College in Peterborough on Feb. 12.

In their first game on Friday, against the Loyalist Lancers, playing on their brand new home court at the Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre, the Wolves led 40-30 going into the second half but ended up dropping the game 86-78 after a late-game defensive breakdown.

Forward, Zerious Loney led the Wolves in scoring with 23 points and guard, Nathan Garcia, had 16 points coming off the bench.

Zerious Loney drives to basket against three defenders.
Zerious Loney drives to basket against three defenders. Photo credit: Liam Fox

Trevor Costello, the Wolves head coach, was visibly upset after the loss. “Breakdown defensively, outrebounded, just not playing with urgency, disappointing, a very disappointing loss,” said Costello.

Despite the tough loss to begin the team’s tenure at the ARC, it was exciting for the team to finally play competitive games in the brand new $50-million facility.

“It felt great,” said Garcia. “We already had some road games but feels good to be in your own facility, where you are practising, where you are building chemistry with your teammates, it’s just nice to play in your own building.”

The Wolves had a much better offensive effort and preferred end result in their second home game on Saturday against the St. Lawrence Surge. They were in control throughout the game and won by double digits 96-85.

“I thought we played a lot better, we hit more shots, we rebounded a bit better, our press changed up the way they were bringing up the ball so that was kind of nice, just overall we will take the win,” said Costello.

A big part of the Wolves offensive success on Saturday was due to their third-year players, Loney and Simon Desta, who combined for 65 points.

Desta had 35 points and sank five three-pointers and Loney scored 30 points while being incredibly efficient, shooting 85 per cent from the field.

Simon Desta drives to the basket for a layup
Simon Desta drives to the basket for a layup Photo credit: Liam Fox

“I think everyone played their roles today, the ball was moving pretty well today running our offense and we got the W,” said Loney.

Saturday’s game was not just a small sample size of the two experienced players dominating offensively. At this point in the shortened eight-game season, Loney is third in scoring for the Ontario Colleges Athletics Association’s men’s basketball league, averaging 23.8 points per game.

Desta is fifth in scoring in the OCAA with 22.8 points per game.

“They’re third-year guys and they should be our leaders, not necessarily in scoring, but they know how to score,” said Costello. Loney and Desta make up over half of the team’s scoring through the first half of the season.

Currently, the Wolves are third in the standing for the Eastern Division behind the first-place Georgian Grizzlies and second-place Loyalist Lancers.

The Wolves will be back on the road next weekend playing the Seneca Sting in Toronto on Friday and the George Brown Huskies on Saturday.

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