In a tough stretch of five games in eight days, the Gee-Gees have found themselves in all close games to this point. An early-afternoon matchup with the Western Mustangs proved no different as the Gee-Gees ground out a 67-62 win at home on Friday.
It was a low-scoring affair through the first half, after the Mustangs outscored the Gee-Gees by a score of 14-11 through the first quarter, the Gee-Gees rallied to take a 30-28 lead into the second half.
While both teams traded punches, the Mustangs looked to secure a solid lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Gee-Gees were able to find their offensive rhythm and secure the win in the final frame.
Fifth-year guard/forward Kenny Jean-Louis provided essential energy on the defensive end, and had his best offensive game of the season so far. Jean-Louis led the team with 16 points, and also pulled down seven rebounds.
“Coach told me that I need to be prepared when my number is called,” said Jean-Louis, who starred for Cape Breton last season. “Some nights it might just be rebounding or defending, but today some guys were struggling on offence, so Coach told me to get buckets and play aggressive, so that’s what I did.”
Jean-Louis hit a beautiful arching three-pointer in the fourth quarter that helped his team pull away. Another three-pointer by Calvin Epistola ensured the momentum swing was there to stay for the Gee-Gees.
“We gutted it out," said head coach James Derouin, noting how much the team is missing star forward Brody Maracle.
“We’re having a hard time locating someone to pick up the slack, Kenny did it today, but we had other guys fall off. In the OUA, a win is a win and Western’s a tough team, but we still have a long way to go.”
On Saturday the Gee-Gees will face a tough Windsor Lancers team that is only a year removed from being a top-four team in the OUA. A win in the final game of the stretch will mean a lot heading into the last two weekends before the exam break.
“I think the chemistry will come with time, I’m not too worried,” said Jean-Louis. “These games against good teams like Western will help us in the long run.”
Tip-off against Windsor is set for 8 p.m. and will be streaming live on OUA.tv.