Ottawa Undefeated, Victorious in Jack Donohue Tournament
- Chris Anderson – Pts: 13, Reb: 6, Ast: 1, Stl: 1, Min: 26
- Johnny Berhanemeskel – Pts: 10, Reb: 2, Ast: 0, Stl: 2, Min: 28
- Winn Clark – Pts: 18, Reb: 6, Ast: 5, Stl: 4, Min: 37
OTTAWA,ON- The Ottawa University Gee-Gees closed out the Jack Donohue Tournament with a win over the McGill Redmen by a score of 65-56.
The host Gee-Gees managed to stay undefeated in the tournament, and Ottawa Head Coach James Derouin said “It couldn’t have gone much better. I had guys who don’t usually play get a chance to step up and they did.”
Derouin continued, “It’s the third game in three days, the last of the tournament, it’s a grind it out game, guys are exhausted. Who makes the big plays down the stretch and who doesn’t defines who wins at the end.”
In a gritty, grinding effort, no Gee-Gee player scored over thirteen points, but all who played ended up with at least two.
Ottawa gained a lead, once again, by pressuring early and playing at a fast tempo. Johnny Berhanemeskel hit a three-pointer, and Vikas Gill hit two more. Karim Sy-Morisette started well for McGill, but after the first quarter they trailed 18-12.
Winn Clark of McGill ended up as a Tournament All-Star and his strong play kept the Redmen in the game. Ottawa’s Jacob Gibson-Bascombe hit a three-pointer, Mike L’Africain got all the way to the basket and Shamus Ferguson played well inside to cap a mini-Ottawa run to the the half up 32-21.
NPH caught up with first-year point guard Mike L’Africain from Oakville after the game and he said “We just wanted to get some togetherness without six or seven of our rotation guys. So, we just wanted to work on our defense, our rotations have always been our problem and we’re not there yet but we’re getting better each day.”
Ottawa’s defense looked good, but McGill earned a reputation for sticking around in games earlier in this tournament and not giving up. Vincent Dufort and Nic Langley hit three-pointers for McGill, and Winn Clark continued his All-Star level play, but the backcourt 1-2 punch of Chris Anderson and Johnny Berhanemeskel were too much to handle.
McGill went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter and made the game exciting at a score of 54-48, but the comeback attempt was stifled by the grit and determination of the tournament hosts. After forty minutes, Ottawa stood victorious 65-56.
“It’s the last real CIS competition before we start league play in two weeks against Brock and Mac. We had nine healthy bodies, and not even that many dressed players,” which contributed to a gritty, sloppy game said Ottawa coach James Derouin.
Mike L’Africain agreed, saying “When you have games back-to-back, three games in three days, it just shows if you can gut it out like we did it will help down the long road with playoffs or nationals and help us be tough enough.”
And while dreaming of Nationals gets you nowhere, the Gee-Gees displayed the will to win that should accompany them throughout the season. A season where, as James Derouin says “Just one small hustle play makes all the difference.”
McGill plays one more preseason game on November 1st at Cincinatti, and open their regular season back home against Concordia on November 10th.
Ottawa will rest their injuries and tweak their lineup in preparation for their regular season debut at Brock on November 11th.
Matt Buckley – Laurier
Conor Meshino – Laurier
Winn Clark – McGill
Daniel Quirion – UNB
Chris Anderson – Ottawa
Johnny Berhanemeskel – Ottawa
Ottawa Head Coach James Derouin on tournament MVP Johnny Berhanemeskel – “Johnny, he’s incredible. He didnt have the best game tonight, he’s probably thinking of something else, turning nineteen today. To be where he is at his age, his ceiling is unlimited. He’s just a great player and a great kid, and he continues to do amazing things here. The fans love him.”