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Gee-Gees Close Out Season With Program-Best 18-1 Record

Saturday February 21, 2015
Johnny in action.
Richard Whittaker

Two important feats were reached on Saturday night: the uOttawa Gee-Gees finished with the best record in program history and graduating senior Johnny Berhanemeskel eclipsed the 2,000 career point mark. Ottawa closed the regular season with a 112-73 win over the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs. 

It was a tentative start to the game for the Gee-Gees who were also celebrating senior night with Berhanemeskel and Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue graduating this year. They started off a little soft in the first quarter and ended up trailing by three after one. That quarter featured 10 lead changes.

The second quarter was when the Gee-Gees started to settle into their usual groove, using a 30-3 run to make it a 57-30 lead at halftime. The Gee-Gees started making it look easy in the third with their ball movement. This allowed their outside game to open up even more as they hit 19 threes on the night.

 “We started to make some shots in the second quarter,” said a pleased head coach James Derouin after the game. “We started to defend. We woke up there. I think the senior night thing threw us off a little bit. But the second quarter the kids woke up. I mean 27 assists, that’s spectacular. We talked about it. That’s our identity, the ball movement, the threes. So I’m happy with that.”

 “What we really wanted to gain from this weekend was to get our rhythm back, especially offensively,” added Derouin. “The last month, we’ve been winning, but we just haven’t had our identity with our assists down, with Mike out. With him back the last couple weeks, I feel like we’re just getting back. I felt like we’re back to playing our style tonight. We got everyone involved and we got some freshman in who played great. So we’re in good shape heading into the playoffs.”

The special moment of the night came with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter when Matt Plunkett found an open Berhanemeskel at the top of the key. He did what he knows best, sinking a three to hit the 2,000 point mark on his five-year career.

“It was on my mind all week,” said Derouin. “We’ve got team goals and individual goals. We don’t want our individual goals impacting our team ones. We wanted to get Johnny on the bench and get him rested. But he’s a special kid and it’s a special milestone. We didn’t want to leave him three points short. We’re glad we got it and now we can focus on the playoffs.”

“I’ve been truly blessed. I feel like everything has paid off,” said Berhanemeskel. “Being able to play in all my regular season games, it’s been a blessing. Fastest five years of my life. I have so many people to thank. It’s been such a great day and week reminiscing on the past five years.”

Six Gee-Gees recorded double-digits on Saturday night. Berhanemeskel led with 28 points, Vikas Gill had 18, Plunkett 16 (including 6-for-6 shooting, L’Africain contributed 13, while Agada and Morrison finished with 11.

“It’s a great way to go out as a senior,” said Gonthier-Dubue. “It was our first goal to host the OUA Final Four and so we just have to get the job done next week.”

Ottawa will await their OUA quarter final opponent and open the playoffs at home on February 28 at 7 p.m.