After a pair of first round byes the Carleton Ravens finally begin the OUA playoffs on Saturday night as they host an OUA East Semifinals doubleheader.
In the first game of the night the Ravens will host their crosstown rival uOttawa Gee-Gees at 6:00 p.m. In two meetings this season the Ravens and Gee-Gees have split their record, with the Ravens winning the Capital Hoops Classic in February before narrowly falling to the Gee-Gees in early March. The Gee-Gees enter Saturday’s matchup hot after they dispatched the Laurentian Voyageurs 78-39 on Wednesday night.
In their first meeting, the Ravens allowed just 43 points – the second least the Ravens would allow this season. After trailing for much of the first half, the Ravens exploded for 22 points in the third quarter as they closed the gap and pulled away from the Gee-Gees. Kali Pocrnic (Oakville, Ont.) and Tatyanna Burke (Winona, Ont.) led the way with a combined 31 points in the win.
Two weeks later, the Ravens shooting was slightly off the mark making only 20 field goals while going 1-for-5 from beyond the arc. Being held to a season-low 54 field goal attempts the Ravens couldn’t muster enough offence as the Gee-Gees squeezed out a 57-54 win. With both teams trading home wins Saturday’s OUA quarterfinals will be the final matchup the settle the season series.
Tipping off at 8:00 p.m. the Ravens’ men’s basketball team (14-0) will tangle with the Rams (8-6) for the first time this season. After their scheduled games earlier this year disappeared from the schedule due to the extended mid-season pause this matchup is long awaited by Ontario basketball fans. The Rams will be hungry to prove themselves against the Ravens currently sporting an 0-4 record against the two other teams remaining in the OUA East playoffs.
The Rams are led by the high scoring Aaron Rhooms. Averaging 19.3 points per game while shooting 52.7%, Rhooms leads a cast of five Rams who all averaged 10 or more points per game. A 45.6% shooting team, the Rams have the ability to play high tempo run-and-gun basketball having scored over 80 points nine times during the regular season.
Carleton too has depth to spare. With 10 players averaging over 10-minutes of play per night, the Ravens have the depth and versatility that teams will struggle to match. Beyond leaders Lloyd Pandi, Biniam Ghebrekidan and Alain Louis, the Ravens have received key contributions from Grant Shephard, Cordell Veira, Aidan Warnholtz and Connor Vreeken, among others.
The defending champions enter the playoffs with a perfect record for the ninth time since 2003-2004.