Photos by Marc Jan
Gees women defeat Ravens despite injuries to key players
The Gee-Gees women’s basketball team played a commanding game against the Carleton Ravens at this year’s Capital Hoops Classic to secure a win and take the top spot in their division.
Although two of the team’s key players, Kellie Ring and Catherine Traer, were out with injuries, the rest of the team stepped up to fight for the 57–47 win.
“We have three starters out of the lineup right now and we’re probably not expecting them back,” said head coach Andy Sparks. “This team has to create their own identity now without those players. That’s where we are right now. So, every one of these games is good for us moving forward.”
The Gee-Gees came out of the gates with a dominating inside game that brought the team up quickly to a 9-0 lead. The Gees finished the first half leading with a score of 26–23. The Ravens countered with more intensity in the second half, but gave the Gees plenty of second chances to finish their baskets throughout the game.
The U of O’s Angela Tilk and Maddie Stephen were productive in the paint, picking up most of the team’s points. Tilk finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Stephen with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The win put the Gee-Gees in the number one spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East Division.
“There were a lot of things that we needed and a lot of things that we got,” said Tilk. “I would like to say top 10 rankings are just a number, but it means something because it shows that what we’re doing on the court is working for us and it is always something to strive for. I was really looking forward to getting a good team win with the girls.”
The Gees’ younger end of the roster played a fearless game. They hustled each minute and dove for every ball. Rookie Danielle Marion showed a special desire to win as she racked up three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 10 minutes of play.
“It’s my first time playing here, so it was really intimidating coming in and playing in the big arena,” said Marion. “The second half, that’s the one that we started to get used to the big atmosphere and the crowd.”
The Gees battled in the fourth quarter with continuous strong defence, damage in the key areas, and great leadership from Julia Soriano. These were the main ingredients in the team’s win.
“It was important to finish the game strong,” said Stephen. “It was just like any other game, but it’s that much sweeter in front of all the fans and Carleton.”
Men’s team delivers disappointing performance versus top-ranked Ravens
Thousands of fans witnessed a clash of the titans as the number one Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) ranked Carleton Ravens faced the number two ranked Gee-Gees in the men’s basketball Capital Hoops Classic.
There was a lot of hype surrounding the matchup since it was not only a meeting of the best teams in the country, but also a showcase of some of the nation’s top players and a long-standing local rivalry. About 6,600 people were in attendance at the Canadian Tire Centre on Jan. 21.
Even though the crowds showed tremendous energy, both teams showed poise and remained calm in the first few minutes of play — a noticeable change from their last meeting.
Head coach James Derouin said he “wanted to send a message that we came to fight and play hard.” The team did so — after a shaky first quarter — but Carleton was a step above the Gee-Gees, and for that matter, the rest of the CIS. The game ended with a final score of 82–58 in favour of the Ravens.
The team took a while to open up its scoring, as Johnny Berhanemeskel sunk the Gees’ first nearly four minutes into the game. The Gees found themselves in trouble with a 14-point deficit late in the first quarter.
Though the team improved its rebounds from this season’s first game against the Ravens — an area in which the team said it would have to improve in order to beat them — they struggled to finish at the rim early on against the excellent defence of Carleton’s top players. After the first, the U of O settled down and started chipping away at Carleton’s lead but continued to miss their open and transition shots.
Thomas, who many forecasted to be the X-factor in this game, seemed to be playing without the intensity that got him named the Gees’ player of the week only a week prior. Caleb Agada couldn’t seem to break free from the Ravens’ defenders. Johnny Berhanemeskel continued his shooting slump, going three for 10 in the first half.
The Gees started to recompose themselves after the first half, with strong finishes at the hoop and plenty of defensive pressure. Just like Rick Ross in 2006, the Gee-Gees were hustling.
But although the Ravens seemed nervous in the second half, the point cushion between the teams was still thick. Shooting improvements from Berhanemeskel in the third helped the team stay in the game, but Carleton’s dominant first half was too much to overcome.
The Ravens’ victory was somewhat bittersweet, as they failed to meet their average of 95 points per game. Meanwhile, this year’s Capital Hoops matchup counted as the Gees’ first home loss of the season.