Coming into the tenth annual MBNA Capital Hoops Classic, one thing was certain — the Carleton Ravens domination of the annual event was evident, boosting a 9-1 series record against their crosstown rivals since the inception of the game back in 2007.
Ten years later and less than three weeks since beating Carleton 75-73 on their own floor, the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees proved their was no fluke by once again knocking off the No. 3 Carleton Ravens 78-72 in front of colorfully and fully animated packed-house at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Senior Guard Mike L’African (Oakville, ON) continued to make a case for best point-guard in the
From the opening tip, it was evident that the game was going to be a physical battle. Both teams started off with tremendous defense and rebounded the ball with a lot of aggressiveness. The Ravens forced the Gee-Gees to shoot contested jumpers with the shot clock winding down, the first three possessions giving Ravens fans something to cheer about early on.
Getting the crowd involved was not a problem as both Gee-Gees and Raven fans wanted to boost their teams up. With both fans screaming, Raven fans were the first to quiet down after Mike L’Africain hit a bomb from downtown as he set the tone for what would be a great game for him and the rest of the Gee-Gees 3-point shooting as they ended the game 8-for-20 from deep.
The first-quarter was highlighted by defense, the score finished 15-11 for the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Ravens struggled all night shooting the ball, especially in the first quarter as they finished the quarter shooting 4-22 from the field making only 18% of their buckets The Gee Gees showed early on that they would not give up any easy buckets inside.
In the second-quarter, the Gee-Gees defence continued to dominate. After an and-one basket from Carleton Raven’s Kaza Keane, it looked as if the Ravens finally got the momentum they needed, but the Ottawa’s interior defense kept preventing Carleton from making any type of run.
For three-quarters of the second-quarter, both team struggled to score until about the last three minutes where both the Gee-Gees and Ravens gave the fans their money’s worth as the two teams exchanged bucket after bucket, finishing the half 28-27 for the Gee-Gees .
The spotlight of the second-half of the game was owned by Mike L’African who finished the game with 23 points, 3 rebounds and Matt Plunkett who added 14 points on 5-of-6 field goals, and 3-of-4 three-pointers.
L’Africain started the third-quarter by giving the Gee-Gees fans something to cheer about as he hit a tough contested lay-up and gave the Gee-Gees a boost that was much needed after a struggling second-quarter from them.
Connor Wood the man who has had his share of Capital Hoops classics refused to let the Gee-Gees run away with the game as he hit a three-pointer to narrow the Ravens deficit 35-39 with 6:00 minutes left.
L’ Africain, who also had his share of experience at the Capital Hoops Classic, knew exactly how to put the Ravens away and did just that as he hit a three-pointer and a reverse lay-up to give the Gee-Gees a commanding 48-37 point lead. L’ Africain scored 9 of the Gee-Gees 22 points in the third-quarter as they led 50-39.
In the last quarter of the tenth annual MBNA capital hoops classic, the Ravens showed early on that they were not going away easily. After a lay-up to narrow the deficit to nine points, the Ravens stole the ball, only to get the ball stolen from them right away and give up a triple to the one and only L’African.
Ravens Gavin Resch answered by hitting his own triple to keep his young team motivated to push for a comeback. But after three 3-pointers from Matt Plunkett in the fourth-quarter the Gee-Gees maintained a comfortable lead and never let up.
However, because of poor free-throw shooting down the stretch by the Gee-Gees, the Ravens made a short run to narrow their deficit by four — led by Kaza Keane who finished with 19 points and 6 assists and Guillaume Bouchard powering his way with a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite the sloppy finish by the Gee-Gees they still man handled the Ravens the whole game as they won the tenth annual MBNA Capital Hoops Classic 78-72. Making this the third time since 1999 that the Gee-Gees beat the Ravens in back-to-back games.
Feb 17, 2007 Ottawa, ON Ottawa 77 Carleton 71 Jan 23, 2007 Ottawa, ON Ottawa 64 Carleton 62 Capital Hoops Classic Feb 28, 1999 Ottawa, ON Ottawa 76 Carleton 52 Feb 26, 1999 Ottawa, ON Ottawa 80 Carleton 75