OUA

Big matchup against Carleton archrivals to go down Jan. 10

Photo Credit: Richard Whittaker 

The second-ranked team in the country capped off its holiday season as champions at Dalhousie’s 2015 Shoveller Memorial Tournament.

The Gee-Gees came into the break undefeated in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) after playing at an elite level during the first half of the season.

The trip to Halifax reaffirmed their standing as the Gees downed some of the best teams Atlantic Canada has to offer. In three games, the men averaged a 20-plus point win and nearly doubled their opponents’ shooting numbers.

In the first game of the tournament, the Gee-Gees ran rampant on the Saint Mary’s Huskies in a 115-72 win. The most significant aspect of the game was the debut of fifth-year senior forward Alex Ratté, a transfer from Laurentian, where he was the third-leading scorer in the nation last season.

Ratté had been sidelined with knee issues in the first half of the season, and an early return with ample playing time before the playoffs could make the Gee-Gees favourites for the national championship this year.

Johnny Berhanemeskel dazzled with a 21-point, five-rebound performance in the semi-final game against the St. Francis Xavier X-Men. The Gees advanced to the final to take on the tournament host, the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) leading the Dalhousie Tigers.

During this game, Gees’ star junior Caleb Agada took over the game and led Ottawa to an 83-62 win.

Agada would earn tournament MVP averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the three games.

The tournament proved valuable for the Gee-Gees as they are gearing up for a difficult schedule in the second half of the season, which will likely result in a deep playoff run.

Moving forward in the regular season, the Gees will face their biggest test yet as they have a major matchup with first-ranked archrivals the Carleton Ravens on Jan. 10 at Montpetit Hall.

The teams have not met since last year’s national championship final and the garnet and grey squad has their sights locked on seeing their name on the W.P. McGee Trophy this season.

There’s a strong possibility the Gee-Gees are a better team than Carleton this season. No doubt Carleton is talented, but putting the lineups side-by-side, the Gees look to have more dangerous weapons.

They also have a more immediate reward if they win the Jan. 10 game. If the Gees come away victorious, they would in all likelihood become the number one team in the nation in the weekly top 10 rankings, something no team but Carleton has done in five years.

Although the Gee-Gees and Ravens will meet again for Capital Hoops in February, this will likely be the biggest test for the teams because  it will set the tone for the rest of the season.

But whoever wins the game will also have the biggest target on their back; every weekend a new team will want to dethrone the best.

Tipoff is on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at Montpetit Hall. Tickets are available online at geegees.ca and the game will be broadcast live on OUA.tv.