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Sixth-seeded Bishop’s Gaiters force overtime at the CIS Final 8 in Toronto

Photo credit: Jesse Colautti

The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team had an eventful first two days at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Final 8 hosted by Ryerson University.

On Wednesday night, Fifth-year senior Johnny Berhanemeskel became the first Gee-Gee basketball player ever named CIS Player of the Year, while his head coach James Derouin won Coach of the Year.

The third-seeded Gees began their quest for a championship Thursday night against the lower-seeded Bishop’s Gaiters­—a team that finished their regular season with a 10-18 record. The Gee-Gees soon learned that Quebec’s sole representative in the tournament came to play.

In the first half, the Gaiters shut down the Ottawa offence that relies on quick starts and consistent flow. The Gee-Gees struggled to capitalize on many opportunities, taking bad threes and forfeiting key rebounds on the offensive end.

The Gaiters benefited also from a crowd stacked with supporters—all hungry for an upset.

Bishop’s went on a 20-0 run before closing the half leading 35-28.

The second half was an up-and-down affair with the Gaiters staying alive with an array of threes.

In the final seconds of the game Gee-Gees forward Caleb Agada went to the free throw line and hit two clutch shots to take the game to overtime.

During extra time, Ottawa settled in on offence and were able to expand their lead enough to secure a 91-85 win over the Gaiters and advance into semifinals.

“I think there’s an angel watching over our team or something cause at times they deserved that win,” Johnny Berhanemeskel said.

“I mean it’s basketball and sometimes it doesn’t always work like that but we got to squeeze out a win and get another chance on Saturday so we’ll just take it and run with it.”

The Gee-Gees will now play the Ryerson Rams at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night in hopes to play in the national championship final.