Gee-Gees win silver at OUA final four, advance to nationals
Maclaine Chadwick | Fulcrum Staff
Photo by Michael P. Hall
THERE WAS A lot on the line for the University of Ottawa men’s basketball team at the Wilson Cup tournament—namely an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) gold medal and three spots at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Final 8 tournament.
For the Wilson Cup tournament, held on March 1 and 2 at Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, the Gee-Gees joined the University of Windsor Lancers, the Lakehead University Thunderwolves, and the Carleton University Ravens to play for the title of best team in Ontario.
OUA semi-final game: Gee-Gees vs. Lancers
In the first game of the tournament, the Gees were pitted against the Lancers and won 78-58. The Gees hadn’t faced the Lancers since their first regular-season loss to Windsor on Nov. 10, but as head coach James Derouin said, the team has changed a lot since then.
The first quarter of the game left the Gees with a very slim advantage, leading the Lancers by two points at 18-16. In fact, the game was very closely matched until the fourth quarter, when Gee-Gee guard Johnny Berhanemeskel sunk consecutive three-point shots to secure the lead for the U of O squad. Fifth-year guard Warren Ward led the scoreboard with 26 points, followed closely by Berhanemeskel with 21 points.
The Lancers, who were playing without fourth-year guard Josh Collins, were able to maintain decent defence against the Gees.
“We were having some trouble with their defence because they’re so good with their backcourt pressure,” said Derouin. “We decided to try and keep it simple on offence and just use screens to get clean looks, and it worked out great.”
OUA final: Gee-Gees vs. Ravens
For the first time in Wilson Cup history, it was an all-Ottawa affair. The Gee-Gees were matched against their rivals, the Ravens—who overcame the Thunderwolves 72-51 the day before—in a battle for the OUA gold medal.
Unfortunately for the Gees, silver was as good as it was going to get, because the Ravens won 72-69.
At the end of the first quarter, the game was closely matched at 17-14 in favour of the Ravens, who took off in the second and solidified their lead while Ward sat out of the game due to fouls.
Despite being benched for a short period of time, Ward still led the Gee-Gees scoreboard with 27 points and ten rebounds. It was also a dynamite three-point shot from Ward with less than five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that brought the Gees within three points of the Ravens.
The most suprising statistic of the game has to be the fact that Carleton out-rebounded the Gees 40-28, which Ward described to the press as “atrocious.”
“We will need to be much better at nationals,” he said.
“Carleton is such a strong defensive team that it really took us out of our usual game play,” said Derouin. “It’s disappointing, because if we could have gotten into a bit of a rhythm a bit early, the outcome of the game might have been much different.
“Even though we lost tonight, the weekend was a success because we did what we came here to do, and that is to qualify for nationals,” Derouin continued.
The Gee-Gees are seeded third in the CIS Final 8 tournament, which will be held at Scotiabank Place from March 8–10. Their first game will be played against the McGill University Martlets, who are led by former Gee-Gees head coach Dave DeAveiro. Tickets are available for purchase at capitaltickets.ca