Monster third quarter by Berhanemeskel leads Gee-Gees past Rams in OUA bronze medal

Monster third quarter by Berhanemeskel leads Gee-Gees past Rams in OUA bronze medal

After being upset in game one of the OUA Final Four tournament the Gee-Gees made no mistake on Saturday night, defeating the Ryerson Rams 79-66 in decisive manner to capture the bronze medal in the tournament. uOttawa's senior duo of Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue and Johnny Berhanemeskel took control of the game after the halftime break and never wavered as the Gee-Gees cruised to victory.

The Rams had nothing to lose versus the Gee-Gees as they will earn an automatic bid as host of the CIS Final 8 Championship next weekend. The story was much different for the Gee-Gees, however, as they fought for their playoff lives on Saturday night, in hopes or earning a wild card bid to the national tournament.
 
In the end it was the sheer determination of uOttawa's two veterans that made the difference in the game. Gonthier-Dubue finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds on 4-11 shooting while Berhanemeskel poured in 39 points and six rebounds on 15-19 shooting. uOttawa defence also came up big as they out-rebounding Ryerson 40-to-31 while pulling down 13 offensive boards.  
 
"To be honest yes Johnny [Berhanemeskel] had a huge night but I have come to expect that from him, it's just what he does. To me it was our rebounding numbers that jumped out at me because rebounding has been our weakness. We went out there and played some tough hardnosed basketball and it paid off. That is the type of basketball we will need to win a championship," said uOttawa head coach James Derouin.
 
The garnet and grey had a cold start to the game, shooting a weary 30.0 per cent from the field in the first quarter. Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue carried the load in the early going for Ottawa notching the games opening basket followed by a big one handed slam off a feed from Mike L'Africain.
 
Kadeem Green has been a major defensive piece for the Rams all season long and he showed why that on Saturday notching 10 points along and two blocks. 

Neither team was able to take a significant edge into the halftime break as the score was 32-31 in favour of Ryerson after the first 20. Jahmal Jones and Adika Peter-McNeilly led the way on the score sheet for Ryerson notching 13 points each.

After a toe-to-toe first half between the teams it was hard to pick out who would come out on top in the game. Berhanemeskel would quickly change that however as he came out of the halftime break on fire, scoring 15 of the Gee-Gees 23 third quarter points.

Berhanemeskel continued to wreak havoc on the offensive end for the Rams in the third quarter making tough shot after tough shot for the Gee-Gees, showing why he was named the OUA's player of the year. In his last game in front of Gee-Gees nation, the senior continued solidified himself as one of the most clutch performers the OUA has seen by single handily giving his team the advantage in the second half. The run resulted in a 10 point lead for the Gee-Gees which they were able to maintain through the fourth quarter and cruise to victory. 

"My time here has taught me so much as a person and as a basketball player. I have been through a lot in this program and some of those hardships taught me how to come back stronger and better," said Berhanemeskel. "We are such a close group. We just want was is best for each other. We were all really upset after last night's game and we came out tonight and accomplished exactly what we meant to." 

The pair of seniors received a standing ovation upon exited the court in the final minutes of the game. Gonthier-Dubue and Berhanemeskel will go down as two of the most impactful Gee-Gees of all time. 

"To see the love the fans have for those two players is truly amazing. It take two special kids to garner that kind of attention in a city that has been focused on the Carleton Ravens and their success for so many years," said Derouin. "It has been a true privilege to coach Gab and Johnny because they are great kids. This team stands behind them win or lose and looks up to them every day so we will have some very big shoes to fill next year." 

"After spending my last five years here I couldn't help but be emotional before the start of this one. We knew we wanted to come here and give our fans a good performance for a last time and I would said it went really well. I have to thank the fans who have been there watching, the support means the world," said Gonthier-Dubue after the contest. 

The CIS will announce the seeding for the Final Eight tournament Sunday afternoon a 3:00 p.m.

Courtesy: Ottawa Gee-Gees