Ottawa basketball fans were excited to welcome J. Cole to TD Place
With the Ottawa BlackJacks back in town to host the Scarborough Shooting Stars, TD Place was absolutely rowdy.
Going into the Thursday night matchup, both teams were coming off losses to the Montreal Alliance, and still on the hunt for their first win of the season.
As thrilling as the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) always is, this particular game was extra exciting thanks to the presence of Jermaine Cole, better known as J. Cole.
Joining the CEBL this season, J. Cole has added a couple years of professional basketball to his already impressive resume — other notable items include a Grammy Award, and going double platinum with no features.
While Walt Lemon Jr. opened up the scoring for the BlackJacks, the Shooting Stars quickly responded with a shot from behind the arch.
Scarborough stayed ahead throughout the opening quarter, leading 11-9 with five minutes left on the clock.
At this point, an eruption of cheers filled the arena as J. Cole stepped on the court.
A staple to the Gee-Gees roster, Maxime Boursiquot, dropped a three-pointer over his forehead immediately.
It was clear Scarborough was most comfortable behind the three-point line, dropping eight of 13 attempts.
Ottawa head coach Charles Dubé-Brais gave credit to the opponent’s shooting.
“We allowed them [Scarborough] to get in a rhythm,” Dubé-Brais said. “They made a lot of tough shots that were pretty well defended.”
The BlackJacks had a lot of work to do, down 28-16 going into the second quarter.
Ottawa’s most reliable big man, Chad Posthumus, put up a couple baskets from inside the paint to chip away at the deficit.
While the Shooting Stars slowed down, the BlackJacks were just heating up.
A string of steals that were converted into points lessened the score gap, and a fade away three-pointer from the hands of Deng Adel brought Ottawa within six, and got fans on their feet.
Tyrell Green followed suit, and Ottawa was back in the game.
Scarborough maintained their lead, but not by much. To close the first half of play, the 43-40 was on the scoreboard.
Adel came out of the locker room and dropped a turn around jumper, as he does.
The next sequence of events was not so great for the BlackJacks. Scarborough’s Isiaha Mike flew into the paint for a dunk, Jalen Harris drew a foul out of Lemon Jr., Kalif Young also dunked, and Kameron Chatman hit a three.
“We need a sense of urgency on the defensive end,” Boursiquot said after the game.
The Shooting Stars had extended the lead to double digits yet again.
Out of kindness for our Ottawa men, I’m going to skip the last minute of the third quarter.
Trailing 74-58, things were not looking great for the BlackJacks. Thankfully, a dunk by Adel followed by a three-pointer by Boursiquot improved the vibes.
Boursiquot continued to represent the Gee-Gees incredibly on the CEBL stage, making a layup to kick off the last ten minutes of play, then snuck in a steal and drove down the court for another basket.
“I do my best to rally the guys and provide energy so guys can feed off of that,” Boursiquot said about his presence on defense. “As a defensive minded guy I’m going to give it my all everytime I’m on the court.”
With 89-75 on the board in favour of the Shooting Stars, the Elam Ending target score of 98 was set.
The Shooting Stars easily took the win, driving up the score and sealing the deal with one last three-pointer.
In the 98-81 loss, Adel was the game’s leading scorer, leaving 18 points on the board. Boursiquot added 10 points and three steals to the BlackJacks’ statline.
For Scarborough, Jalen Harris and Mike both contributed 17.
The BlackJacks have yet to find a win this season as they fall to 0-3, but will have another chance on the road against the Newfoundland Growlers on June 5.