Warren Ward & Gee-Gees Dissect Windsor, Set up Battle of Ottawa for Wilson Cup

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Warren Ward dominant in Gee-Gees win over Lancers.
Courtesy: Reel Motion Photography

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @CeeeBG & NPH @Northpolehoops

TORONTO, ON — The battle for the 2013 Wilson Cup is down to two similar foes.

Just like the Carleton Ravens, the Ottawa Gee-Gees booked their ticket for the Wilson Cup final with a 78-58 win over the Windsor Lancers. “We compete,” Gee-Gees leader Warren Ward said, “and that’s why we’re going to the Nationals this year.”

The two teams were evenly matched in the first 20 minutes of play, but the Gee-Gees used a 6-0 run to close the half and build a 37-27 lead. Windsor guard Enrico Diloreto thinks it was his team’s fault. “Our defensive rotation stopped working,” he said. “It gave them some momentum going into halftime.”

Ward is making a stand in last year. As a fifth-year player, he is extending his career one basket at a time.”At this time last year, I was on a hospital bed preparing to have a knee surgery,” he said of his rehabilitation from a knee injury. “Leading this team is my job. I’ve been saying from day one that I don’t think we get enough respect.”

And this Ottawa seems like the kind of team to use that slight as motivation. “The only thing that matters is winning, and that’s what we came here to do,” Ward said.

They did, and the key was the second half.

That’s when Ottawa ran away with the game. The Gee-Gees led 55-46 after 30 minutes, but Johnny Berhanemeskel secured the win. “As long as I stuck with it, grabbed rebounds and played some defense, I was fine with that,” he said. “Our team is so deep that our roles can change any night.”

Because Carleton hosts this year’s CIS Final 8, still everything remains possible for Windsor. The Ravens have a spot secured in the big boys dance regardless of the outcome tomorrow evening. This means that a win would still give the Lancers a chance to reach Ottawa next weekend. This contest is set for 4 p.m. tomorrow, right before the championship match. Diloreto said that, “We have to stay positive.”

Offensively, Phillip Lien and Diloreto led the Lancers with, respectively, 19 and 16 points but no other player scored over 10 points. Rotimi Osuntola Jr. came closest with 9 points.

The absence of Josh Collins hurt Chris Oliver’s team, and the Gee-Gees were aware of it. “We knew that Diloreto would try to be extra agressive,” Berhanemeskel said. “We tried to make it as difficult for him as much as possible, because he’s a talented player.”

Ottawa, meanwhile, had three players score in double figures. Warren Ward was instrumental with 26 points, including 15 in the first half. Johnny Berhanemeskel had 21 points, including 13 in the final 10 minutes. Ward is proud of his third-year teammate. “He’s come a very long way,” he said. “I think he’s very underrated and I don’t think he gets enough respect.”

The Gee-Gees battle the Ravens tomorrow for the big prize. Twice this year, Ottawa came close to beating Carleton, and Ward thinks that the third time might be the charm. “Our coaching staff does a great job, and we match up well,” Ward said. “The hardest thing to do in basketball is to beat a team three times. If they do that, I’ll just tip my hat off to them.”

TOP PERFORMERS

Windsor

  • Enrico Diloreto: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
  • Lien Phillip: 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

Ottawa

  • Warren Ward: 26 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal
  • Johnny Berhanemeskel: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks
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