by Dominic Santina
Forget football, it is basketball Rochester College centers its homecoming festivities around. This year with the first homecoming in Garth Pleasant arena, the day was a special and memorable one.
The men led the day off with redemption over Redeemer in a 96- 66 win. The game was followed by the women's team who showed off its talent, as the women won 100- 30 over Redeemer. The women only allowed 11 points in the first half of the win.
"Experiencing Opening weekend in the new arena was fantastic. I cannot express just how much it meant to be able to play in front of a packed student section as well as faculty, staff, and board members. Our students and campus community, along with alumni, have deserved this experience for years and today was a great day" said athletic director and head coach Klint Pleasant.
Pleasant said his highlight of the night was nothing basketball related, it was the Shinsky Hall of Fame induction as it welcomed the class of 2017 to be the second member. Along with the introduction to the Hall of Fame ceremony, the king and queen was announced: Billy Wilcox as king and Skye Donaldson as queen.
Homecoming was the highlight of the season so far for the teams but it was not their first games of the season. The women's team had their first game Wednesday night against the University of Windsor and lost 79-60. The women struggled from the field shooting and had a tough time defensively but had a close game. The women's team loves to shoot the three and when they are on they can score a ton and we saw that the last two games. The second game of the year was their first game against Redeemer and this time they were motivated and came to play. A big difference in the second game was Maddy Valco who shot well from behind the three-point line, and attacked the basket well in the third quarter which lead to the win, another big contributor was Kim Charney. While Redeemer found their stroke from behind the arc to close the game at a final score of 94-67 win for RC. The women's team has a 2-1 start on the season, their next game is Saturday 28 at 2pm at Garth Pleasant Arena.
The men's team has had a rough start in their two previous games before homecoming. The guys had started the game out struggling from behind the arc and at the rim and found themselves down in both games. In the first game, they found themselves by 14 points to a good Redeemer team. They rallied back though and closed the gap at halftime to 36-29. The second half looked a lot better and they closed the lead to where the teams were switching the score each time down the court.
What a great game to open the season and the student section that was at the game held the intensity as they were loud and had the arena noisy at different times. A big highlight that brought the whole arena to their feet was when Ronald Norfleet crossed over his man and then elevated over the Redeemer defense for a dunk.
The game went back and forth the rest of the way and RC found themselves down two with the ball at the ten second mark. A three-point shot found the back of the rim and created a long rebound that the Redeemer grabbed and clinched an 82-80 win over RC. The second game started the same way for the Warriors, struggling at the rim and behind the three-point arc against Waterloo. Which had them down 15-2 after the first five minutes of the game.
"We are more inexperienced than we have ever been, so watching your process of the guys getting better and developing chemistry will be fun. This is an amazing group of young men" said Coach Pleasant.
Chemistry is starting to build as the men were able to battle back as well and cut it to a four-point defect at halftime. A big factor in the Waterloo game was Justin Nafso, who had four steals in the first half and had six total. The Warriors came on strong again in the second half and was able to claim the lead. Two steals helped seal the game for the men, the first one was Kash Blackwell that got the steal and threw down a dunk. Then it was Justin Nafso who got a steal and a layup to help cap off the 89-79 win. The men's team is also 2-1 on the season, their next game is also next Saturday the 28 against Wright State Lake.