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Johnny Berhanemeskel adds to legend, scoring 2,000th career point

Photo credit: Marta Keirkus

The number-two ranked Gee-Gees welcomed the Laurentian Voyageurs to Montpetit in hopes of closing out the regular season with a perfect record on their home floor.

In the early goings of the game, Laurentian hung tight with the Gees and even jumped to an early 23-20 lead after the first half.

Once the Ottawa offence settled in, the team pulled away to a comfortable lead. The Gees came away with a dominant 112-73 and finished their season a program best 18-1.

The team was able to integrate various pieces off their bench, but still the main source of production came from the team’s two graduating co-captains, Johnny Berhanemeskel and Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue. Midway through the third, Berhanemeskel hit a three to give him 24 points on the night and, more importantly, the 2,000th point in his career. Johnny B became one of only three Gee-Gees to ever hit that mark.

The Gees’ shifted lineup has seemingly clicked these past games. With Vikas Gill coming off the bench rather than starting, he has led the bench production with 18 points alongside Matt Plunkett’s 16.

“I feel like we are back to playing our style,” said head coach James Derouin.“We got everybody involved, some freshmen in that played great this weekend, so we’re in good shape heading into the playoffs.”

With the win, the team clinched the number-one seed in the provincial Wilson Cup playoffs and the right to host the Final Four at Montpetit Hall. This is the first year with the new system that has the top-seeded team hosting the playoffs.

“It’s a great way to go out as a senior,” said Gonthier-Dubue. “It was our first goal to host the Final Four and so we just have to get the job done next week.” Derouin also expressed the unique chance the Gee-Gees have to win back-to-back conference championships, and do it on their home floor.

“Obviously it’s a huge opportunity for our school to showcase our basketball program and our sports programs. I’m an Ottawa guy and to be at home and host it here is incredible,” said Derouin. “The guys are excited about it, we play really well here at home and shoot the ball extremely well, and we like that advantage trying to go to nationals. We’re absolutely pumped about it.”

The OUA playoffs will take place on Feb. 28 at Montpetit Hall. Provided the Gees fend off the rest of their competition, they will look to compete for the number-one seed in the CIS Final Eight in Toronto starting in March.