Written by Griffin Porter
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – As a winter stormed ranged outside the Ravens’ Nest on Wednesday night, it was the Carleton Ravens who overcame the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees thanks to their own flurry of three pointers. The Ravens avenged their Capital Hoops loss to their crosstown rivals and put themselves in the Wilson Cup Finals with a 96-61 victory.
The game was slated as a strong test for both teams, as Carleton would have the opportunity to play a meaningful game against a red hot Ottawa team, coming off of their quarterfinal victory over a strong Ryerson squad. However, Ottawa guard Calvin Epistola, who earlier in the day was named a 1st Team OUA All-Star, was forced to miss the game with an ankle injury. Carleton was able to take advantage, jumping out to a lead early in the game, and maintaining it on the strength of their defence and shotmaking abilities. The Ravens shot 59% from the field over the course of the game, and made 11 of their 22 attempts from three point range. Meanwhile, they were able to hold the Gee-Gees to 42% shooting and a success rate of 6-17 from three, with all 6 makes coming in the 2nd half when Carleton already had a sizable lead.
The Ravens were led by another efficient performance from 3rd year guard Alain Louis, who earned a spot in the starting lineup tonight with the Ravens easing 1st year forward Lloyd Pandi back into things in his return from injury. Louis scored 20 points on just 15 shots, after scoring 21 in the quarterfinals against McMaster last Saturday. The Montreal native has seen his stock rise this season, starting the year as the 7th or 8th guard on the Carleton roster before seeing his minutes rise throughout the year. Surrounded by young fans on the court after the game, Louis spoke to the importance of working hard and listening to his coaches, crediting both with enabling his remarkable season. “He’s done everything. He’s self-made” said Charles after the win. “He’s really worked for everything he’s got. I’m proud of him, he’s getting everything he deserves”.
After Carleton lost to the Gee-Gees earlier in the year, Charles had lamented the heart shown by his team in that game, speaking several times to the fact that Ottawa had played hungrier and with more to prove at Capital Hoops than his squad. It appeared that that message got through to the Ravens, as they competed hard on Wednesday night. Carleton, led by Louis, was unafraid to play a physical game in the paint, and made the hustle plays all night long, getting to 50/50 balls and outscoring the Gee-Gees 15-1 in second chance points. “We didn’t play the game that we wanted to play against them the last time”, said Charles. “I thought they played a little hungrier and wanted it more. I thought tonight was a little bit different… as a group we decided to try and rove that we’re a better team than the last time we played them”.
The Ravens will host the Western University Mustangs on Saturday night for a chance to capture the program’s 12th Wilson Cup and cement their status as the best team in the OUA. Asked about what a provincial championship would mean to his team, Louis smiled and said that “It’s a start for sure. It’s the right start to what’s hopefully something special”.