We knew they were good…but the question was; could the Ottawa Guardsmen pull it off at provincials?
That question has been answered, as the G-men escaped St. Catherines with an 82-77 victory over Motion, after being up 20-plus in the third quarter.
We witnessed a special group of tenth graders from the nation’s capital claim the U17 Ontario Cup title, competing against older competition game in and game out. Five players hit double-figures lead by the usual suspects; Jacques Lukusa (22), Malik Turenne (16), Maxime Boursiquot (16), and Eddie Ekiyor (11).
Viktor Lorenzen, who poured in 15 points on five three-pointers was a virtual unknown entering this game, but was crucial in this victory, and his teammate Ekiyor knows it.
“I think it really helped us, he kept us in the game. He was really focused in on his shot and it made sense…he comes to the gym the most, works on his shot the most…he is always there.”
Head Coach Aaron Blakely echoed the same thoughts on Lorenzen, highlighting his work ethic.
This core group from Ottawa will be a problem for years, as they continue to work on their weaknesses, while growing both physically and mentally. Lukusa is the ball dominant point guard with mental toughness and confidence that is tough to teach. Ekiyor is oozing with long term potential while displaying glimpses of brilliance on both ends of the floor. Turenne is increasing consistency, building on confidence and developing into more than a one-dimensional player. Boursiquot is a physically impressive prospect that stuffs the stat sheet, contributing in all areas of the game.
“I think they all have an opportunity to be special…the kids who are in the gym all year, made the most of it at the end of the day,” Coach Blakely told NPH.
With all this being said, credit must be given to Motion who did not collapse after getting into a deep hole. On the contrary, this team rallied behind each other and provided those in attendance with an exciting finish, that a championship game deserves.
Once again, multiple players stepped up to close the gap, lead by another undiscovered talent — Ose Omeregie– came out in the second half like a man-possessed, sparking a major Motion run with his energy, rebounding and a massive two-hand jam en route to a team-high 18 points.
Blakely was quick to shed light on the opposition.
“Motion is just really well coached and they never quit. It’s very tough when you’re down but credit the coaches and the players for making a come back.”
Kareem South and Kelan McConnell added 14 and nine respectively, while Chase Vassell and Rimas Rekus chipped in with eight apiece.
Lukusa, [who will need to increase communication to take his floor presence to new heights] lets his game do the talking in the meantime. However, he was not hesitant to speak his mind in the post-game interview.
“We came out with a focus more than any team. I think we showed that tonight, definitely.”
The Ottawa contingent wraps up their OBA season on a high note; the scary part is…they are just scratching the surface.
NPH Top Performers
- Jacques Lukusa – 22 points
- Malik Turenne- 16 points
- Maxime Boursiquot – 16 points
- Viktor Lorenzen – 15 points
- Eddie Ekiyor -11 points
- Ose Omeregie – 18 points
- Kareem South – 14 points
- Kelan McConnell- 9 points
- Chase Vassell – 8 points
- Rimas Rekus – 8 points