In a matchup that always lives up to its hype, the Gee-Gees battled with the Ryerson Rams at Montpetit Hall on Saturday in the OUA quarterfinals. Ultimately, it was a dominant fourth quarter performance that gave the Rams a 77-69 win, ending the Gee-Gees’ season.
A back-and-forth game throughout, the teams exchanged leads on nine separate occasions, but it was the final push that was the most meaningful for the Rams.
With fouls flying early and often, the intensity of the game was feverish from the opening tip-off. The Gee-Gees jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter and maintained it through the first frame, a more competitive second quarter saw the Gee-Gees hold a two-point lead at halftime.
Just as they did in their last matchup, the Gee-Gees came out firing and took a lead that looked good enough to hold, but led by fifth-year guard Manny Diressa, the Rams ramped up their offensive production.
As the game wound down, landmark performances from Brandon Robinson, Kenny Jean-Louis, and Calvin Epistola were not enough to propel the Gee-Gees to victory. It appeared as though the Gee-Gees truly missed Sean Stoqua in the game, which perhaps could’ve gone differently had he been in the lineup.
Robinson finished with 20 points, four of which came on three-pointers, while Jean-Louis finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in his final career basketball game. Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles also in his final game, had foul troubles early and was not able to produce to his normal standard on offence. Calvin Epistola finished with 11 points, despite also picking up three quick fouls early in the game.
“I’m just disappointed,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “I think the kids worked so hard, but we just have some glairing weaknesses in our game. The big one is the free throw shooting and the ups and downs of losing Sean was a huge factor, you saw the fatigue written all over Brandon and Calvin tonight.”
Going forward, the team loses two pieces heading into 2018-19, the loss of Pierre-Charles and Jean-Louis will be hard to replace, but the future is still very bright.
“We’ve got some young pieces that we’re excited about moving forward,” said Derouin.
“Brandon had an All-Star caliber year and Calvin had a breakout season, especially after Sean’s injury. We have some recruits we’re announcing soon, so we’re excited, but this is life in the OUA East. It’s a grind to even get to the final four.”