The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team captured the title at the Rod and Joan Shoveller Memorial Tournament on Saturday evening in Halifax, claiming top spot at the prestigious holiday tournament with a 79-68 win over St. Mary’s in the final.
Caleb Agada was named the tournament MVP, while Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles earned an all-star nod. Agada notched a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds in the tournament final, alongside a 19-point performance against PEI and a 15-point, 12-assist game against St. FX
“We consider ourselves a national-level program so we want to travel and play the teams from the other divisions. We want our players to experience the whole country and play all kinds of different teams,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. "There are so many people here in Halifax who enjoy the basketball and so the Shoveller Tournament is just a good experience overall.”
Day One : 102-88 vs UPEI
Calvin Epistola was the standout in a close game against the Panthers. The second year scored a career-high 20 points and was crucial to Ottawa’s huge fourth-quarter output which resulted in the win. The teams were tied at 74-74 with seven minutes remaining before Epistola and Agada stepped up with a pair of three-pointers each to help put the Panthers away. Epistola was 6-for-7 from long distance as Ottawa sank 18 as a team. Gage Sabean, playing in his native Nova Scotia for the first time as a Gee-Gee, added 15 points on five threes.
“Calvin was phenomenal all weekend really,” said Derouin. “That’s something that we take away – it was his best tournament and a great weekend for him at both ends.”
Day Two : 83-65 vs StFX
The tournament semifinal was a well-rounded game from the starting five of Pierre-Charles, Agada, Plunkett, Maracle and Presutti with all five in double-figure scoring. Pierre-Charles led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds, with Epistola kicking in another 11 points off the bench. Ottawa opened the game on an 11-0 run but saw the X-Men fight back to a 29-29 tie midway through the second quarter. After holding a five-point lead at halftime the Gee-Gees asserted themselves again in the third, starting with a pair of layups from Pierre-Charles.
“Plunkett was really good,” noted Derouin. “He’s the x-factor in terms of spacing the floor – his minutes are always really high because he’s such a valuable player for us.”
Day Three : 78-69 vs St. Mary’s
A strong first quarter was ultimately the difference-maker as Ottawa led 23-13 after the opening ten minutes, fuelled by five treys. The Gee-Gees kept the lead around the ten point mark until the Huskies cut the lead to three early in fourth quarter. Agada scored three of the next four buckets, including a two-handed dunk generated by his own steal, to put Ottawa back in control. SMU reached the final with wins over Queen’s and Dalhousie.
“We got three good competitive games, we absolutely got what we wanted out of the tournament,” concluded Derouin.
UP NEXT: OUA regular season road games at Waterloo and Laurier, January 6-7.