Queen’s and York fall victim to Gees team looking to return to win column
After suffering their first loss of the season against the Ryerson Rams last weekend, the Gee-Gees men’s basketball team was looking to get back to their winning ways.
With a matchup against a strong Queen’s Gaels team and the struggling York Lions, it seems all the Gees needed was some home cooking.
The team is still without the services of their star forward Caleb Agada, who is resting an ankle injury sustained on Jan. 16.
In the first matchup of the weekend, the Gee-Gees downed a physically imposing Gaels team 76-60.
The Gees sprung out to an early 22-10 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Head Coach James Derouin decided to give his younger players some run later in the game and Queen’s closed the gap slightly.
The story of the game and the weekend was the play of Gee-Gees point guard Mike L’Africain. The fifth-year senior carved up the Gaels for 30 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, and five steals.
Nathan McCarthy and Brody Maracle had massive games in the paint for the Gee-Gees. McCarthy had 16 points and seven rebounds while Maracle added 13 points of his own.
“I didn’t shoot the ball too well,” said L’Africain, despite his 30 points. “Every day is a getting better process. We had a hard week of practice, we really went after each other… everyday you want to get better and I think we’re on the right track.”
It seems that L’Africain took his own advice as the Gee-Gees ran rampant on the York Lions the following night. After a slow start, the Gees were able to right the ship and close the weekend with a 91-61 win.
For L’Africain himself, he corrected what he considered a poor shooting performance the previous night by posting a 31-point, five-rebound, and two-assist statline.
The uncharacteristically slow start for the Gee-Gees worried some, as the Lions outscored the Gees 23-18 in the first quarter before Ottawa began to crawl back for a 37-34 lead at half.
In the second half, it was all Garnet and Grey. L’Africain began catching fire, and contributing performances from Matt Plunkett, Nathan McCarthy, Brandon Robinson, and Brody Maracle catapulted the Gees’ lead to 30.
Third-year forward Brody Maracle in his second year of eligibility has given the Gees some life off the bench, and he spoke about what he brings to the team after the win.
“When the starters are slow it’s me and (Matt) Plunkett’s job to come in and give the team a spark,” said Maracle. “I think we did it a bit in the first half and we chipped away at their lead. We got it down for the starters to come back in the second.”
This week, Maracle and the Gee-Gees will prep to face his former team, the Carleton Ravens in the Capital Hoops Classic on Feb. 5 at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Last year’s affair drew just shy of 11,000, and after the Gees downed the Ravens on their home floor just a few short weeks ago it seems the fans are in for another thrilling battle. Tipoff for the women’s game will be at 6 p.m., with the men’s following at 8 p.m.
Tickets for Capital Hoops can be purchased on campus at the Client Services desks at Montpetit Hall and Minto Sports Complex or online at capitaltickets.ca.