Montpetit Hall to house Ontario’s Wilson Cup tournament
Photo credit: Marta Keirkus
Laurentian made its third trip to Ottawa this year, one of which came only a week prior to the Feb. 28 game. The match would end similarly to the others, as the Gees advanced with a 116-71 win. The victory brings the total tally of points between the teams this year to 323-209.
True to the Gee-Gees’ style, the game was over before it really got started. Ottawa’s shooters buried the Voyageurs early as they led 37-16 at the end of the first quarter. Unlike most games this season, the Gee-Gees did not need to heavily rely on their star shooting guard Johnny Berhanemeskel as other players stepped up and led the team to victory.
Forward Caleb Agada stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists to go along with three steals and two blocks. Ottawa also welcomed big contributions from the bench with Moe Ismail’s 14 points and Noel Jones’ eight points. At this point, the team was playing their best basketball yet, and it only looked to get better.
The Gees rolled out their secret weapon to push them above the rest of the nation’s competition. Alex Ratté saw his first meaningful minutes of the season against his former team, for whom he scored the third-most points in the country last season. Ratté has been sidelined due to a knee injury that he was working on getting back to full health for the playoff run. Although the shooter only netted two points in his eight minutes, head coach James Derouin said he’s optimistic about his new offensive weapon.
“He got his feet wet out there a little today,” said Derouin. “We’ll keep moving forward with him in practice and hopefully by nationals he’s close to 60 or 70 per cent, and we can really use him then.”
The win was also perhaps point guard Mike L’Africain’s best all season, as he amassed a total of 20 points, four assists, four steals, and three rebounds. The game was not only big for him, but it also solidified the schedule for the OUA Wilson Cup Final Four to be hosted by the Gee-Gees at Montpetit Hall March 6–7.
“It’s fun, we finally get it here,” said L’Africain. “It’s going to be a treat. I heard there is going to be a cool setup here, so I’m excited.”
Most expected the Final Four to mimic that of last year’s with Ottawa, Carleton, Ryerson, and McMaster matching up. This plan was interrupted when a surging Windsor Lancers team threw a wrench in the bracket by upsetting the higher-ranked McMaster on their home floor.
Now that the games are finalized, action will get underway on Friday, March 6 at 6 p.m. when the Gee-Gees take on the Lancers, followed by the Ravens battling with the Rams at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the OUA bronze medal game will take place at 6 p.m., leading into the Wilson Cup final at 8 p.m. where the Gee-Gees will look to secure two Wilson Cups in a row, this time with the privilege of winning it on their home court.