No Warren Ward…No Problem. Johnny Berhane Steps Up, Ottawa Gee’s Defeat Toronto!
NPH TOP PERFORMERS
- Johnny Berhanemeskel– 29 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists (12/18 FG, 3/6 3P)
- Mike L’Africain– 16 points, 3 assists, 2 steals (6/6 FG)
- Vikas Gill– 14 points, 5 rebounds
TORONTO,ON–Entering this game, the main attraction was Ottawa’s 6’5 guard Warren Ward, the NPH #1-ranked senior in the country, #5 overall.
However, NPH learned that Ward had suffered from a season-ending torn ACL a week ago in practice. Yet, despite a ‘Waardless” Ottawa Gee-Gee’s team, they managed to secure the victory in a hostile UofT gym, 88-67.
With Warren Ward out, the approach to each game will undoubtedly be different.
“It changes the dynamic of the team certainly…Warren is a top five player in the country but it just has to be more of a team effort,” explained Gee-Gee’s Head Coach James Derouin.
Not only has the team approach changed, but individual role have been altered as well. Sophomore guard Johnny Berhanemeskel stepped up in a big way en route to a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds.
“Johnny [Berhanemeskel] has to go from being the secondary guy to the primary guy, and Mike L’Africain has to be more agressive even as a freshman. It’s really just collective, the danger is when someone tries to do it themselves, that’s when you get into trouble,” said Derouin.
“He understands now that he can’t just be a facilitator, he has to score the ball,” Derouin continued, refferring to L’Africain.
Another bright spot for Ottawa was freshman Vikas Gill, who came on in the second half draining a flurry of shots and ending with 14 points.
On the flipside, Alex Hill lead the University of Toronto with a team0high 19 points on 5 of 7 from deep.
With the victory, Ottawa moves to 7-4 and a firm second-place in the OUA-East behind 11-0 Carleton.
Toronto is now 5-6 tied with Ryerson for third-place in the OUA-East.
The Gee-Gees now take on Ryerson to further cement their second place standing. Again, no Warren Ward in the line up, something the team will need to get used to.
“Ryerson is a lot more athletic, but don’t shoot it as well…almost polar opposite but equally strong,” said Derouin.
Look for the Gee Gees to place defensive responsibilities on 6’4 Chris Anderson when it comes to containing Ryerson’s star, the speedy Jahmal Jones.