Photo: Marta Kierkus
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Men’s and women’s basketball both improve to 5-0 in blowouts

As far as thunderous starts go, both Gee-Gees basketball teams know a little something about them.

After making collective light work of their first four opponents of the 2015-16 season, the Gees welcomed the Algoma Thunderbirds to Montpetit Hall on Nov. 20.

It wasn’t a warm welcoming for Algoma, as their teams were trounced in succession.

In the women’s game, there was never a doubt that the game would be a win for the upstart squad. They pounced on the Thunderbirds early, only allowing the team a single point in the first quarter.

Behind the offence of fourth-year Catherine Traer, the Gees carried their commanding lead to a 74-23 win.

Traer continued her early dominance this season with a 21-point performance, while newcomer Anne Wagar scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

Head coach Andy Sparks praised Wagar for her hard work in a developing role on the team.

“The game slows down for her,” said Sparks. “She’s not a player that plays out of control. So for a first-year player that’s a major benefit. She can actually step in now and contribute.”

The men’s team looked to exact the same punishment on the winless Thunderbirds following the blowout in the women’s game.

The nation’s number one-ranked team wasted no time attacking Algoma. Led by a flurry of threes from point guard Mike L’Africain, the Gee-Gees took a commanding 51-17 lead at the half.

Algoma started getting their shots to fall in the second half but were unable to match the power of the Gees’ squad as they fell by a lopsided margin of 85-49.

Caleb Agada showed out for the Gee-Gees as he slammed rim-rocking dunks on three occasions and had a chase-down block that envied the work of LeBron James.

Agada had the high in scoring on the night with 18 points and nine rebounds.

“We got a little bit complacent,” said head coach James Derouin. “There was a lot of good things defensively tonight and it’s something we’ve really been working on so it’s a positive moving forward.”

As impressive of a performance as any was the one turned in from fourth-year forward Noel Jones. In only 12 minutes, Jones was five-for-five, scoring 10 points and nabbing two rebounds.

In a matter of minutes, the former Syracuse University player provides a security blanket of sorts for the Gee-Gees. He creates quick offence and is a force in the post. No matter what the situation, he’s ready to go in.

This hard work is paying dividends.“It means a lot,” said Jones. “I’m just happy to come out and be a part of the win and really contribute.”

“I’m understanding the position more and what coach wants from me so it’s really helping me gain that extra understanding.”

Jones’ coach also recognizes the progression of his player.

“He’s been getting better and better and better,” said Derouin. “He’s stayed ready and stayed focused and I’m fired up for him. He’s a great kid and never complains about his minutes and you’re really seeing his game come together and it’s great to see.”

The Gee-Gees final two games before the holiday break will be the toughest tests they’ve faced so far. They welcome Windsor and Western—two teams that played them close last season.

“We lost to Windsor at OUAs (Wilson Cup Final Four) and we all took that personally,” said Agada. “On the Western side Greg Morrow scored 40 on us last year and we want to lock him up.”

The double-headers will both get underway with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m. on Nov. 27 and 28.

“It’s going to be a big test,” said Jones. “Those are two really good teams and if we can come out with two wins it will be a big step in the right direction towards a great year.”