After a twenty year hiatus from the Wilson Cup championship game, the Gee-Gees will make their return to the highly touted contest as they defeated the Windsor Lancers 78-58 on Friday night in the OUA semi final. The Gee-Gees out-scored the Lancers 23-to-12 in the final frame which allowed them to capture their most important win of the season.
With the victory, the Gee-Gees will compete for the Wilson Cup tomorrow night versus the Carleton Ravens. The teams have never faced each other in a Wilson Cup championship game. Ottawa’s only Wilson Cup title came on March 13th, 1993 in a 88-48 crushing of Western University. The victory also guarantees the Gee-Gees’ participation in the CIS Final Eight championship in Ottawa next weekend.
“We were having some trouble with their defence because they are so good with their backcourt pressure. We decided to try and keep it simple on offence and just use screens to get clean looks and it worked out great,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “It can be tough sometimes because we get stretches where we don’t hit shots but we know that with the group of shooters that we have it is just a matter of time and they will start dropping.”
It was a closely contested first quarter as both teams exchanged baskets from all over the court. Ottawa struggled with Windsor’s full-court press early on which caused them to turn the ball over and experience issues with shot clock management.
However, the Gee-Gees pulled ahead in the second quarter thanks to a flurry of three-point bombs which gave them a 10 point lead heading into the halftime break. The Gee-Gees displayed why they were ranked amongst the league’s most accurate teams from beyond the arc as they shot 53.3 per cent from long range in the first half.
Gee-Gees captain Warren Ward was on fire in the early going as he poured in 15 points while shooting 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. The fifth-year forward is competing in what will be his final opportunity to win the Wilson Cup. Ward led the Gee-Gees in every category as he recorded 26 points, eight rebounds and 6 assists. Johnny Berhanemeskel was also a key contributor as he scored 21 points and pulled down seven boards while hitting five treys.
The Lancers were able to take advantage of an Ottawa dry spell midway through the third quarter as they narrowed the gap to only five points. However, Ward continued to carry the team on his back in the second half as he contributed on virtually every single possession for Ottawa.
The Gee-Gees took their biggest lead in fourth and final quarter thanks to a three-pointer from Berhanemeskel which put them ahead by 13 points with 6:46 remaining in the contest. The Ottawa native continued to hit difficult threes which ultimately put the game out of reach for the Lancers.
“We are tough, we are resilient and most importantly we can shoot. We deserve every single shot we made tonight because we worked hard for all of them,” explained Warren Ward. “These guys believed in me even when I was injured. They showed me so much support. I have to say that I have never experienced playing with such a tightly knit group. It’s a great feeling."
The Gee-Gees will be back in action tomorrow at 6 p.m. when they clash with the first seed Carleton Ravens in the first ever all-Ottawa Wilson Cup championship game, which will be broadcast live on The Score.
The Carleton University Ravens took-on the Lakehead Thunderwolves prior to Ottawa's match. Despite a solid first half effort, the T-Wolves were not able to match Carleton’s offence as the Ravens led the game wire-to-wire and coasted to a 72-51 victory.
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