The Ottawa Gee-Gees were the only team in Canada to beat Carleton this season.
The Ravens weren’t about to let it happen again.
Carleton picked up its fourth straight national men’s basketball title, and 10th in the last 12 years, with a 79-67 victory over its crosstown rival on Sunday.
“Ottawa is a good team, you have to give them credit,” said Carleton’s Tyson Hinz, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player. “That’s by far the best team I’ve played in my five years here.”
The Gee-Gees upset the Ravens last week in the Ontario University Association final. That just riled up the most successful CIS basketball team of the last 12 years.
“It was pretty easy to get motivated after a loss,” said Hinz, who led all scorers with 30 points. “I’m so happy for the guys. I’m happy we got the win.”
In addition to Hinz, the Ravens had solid contributions from Thomas and Philip Scrubb who had 20 and 16 points respectively.
“The fact that they beat us was really motivating,” said Philip Scrubb. “We just tried to focus on our team and what we had to do to win.”
Ravens head coach Dave Smart has been at the helm for all ten championships and has created one of Canada’s greatest basketball legacies.
“Every year it’s a different group of guys,” said Smart. “These guys are special kids. It’s been a long year. You guys see the wins and losses, but there’s been a lot of ups and downs.”
Smart is known as a brilliant coach and many wonder how long before he chooses to expand his horizons, but the Ravens coach says he’s happy where he is.
“Even if someone offered me ridiculous money it would be a family decision,” said Smart. “I know I would go into a situation coaching wise and program wise that would be worse. I have a great situation here and you have to look at it professionally, but you also have to look at your family. The point of me saying that was I ain’t leaving.”
The win was the Ravens fourth consecutive championship, but it didn’t come easily.
The Ottawa Gee-Gees came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed and advanced to the final for the first time in program history.
The final score was hardly indicative of the battle that was fought all afternoon.
The Ravens led by two, 16-14, after the first quarter, but the early half of the second belonged to the Gee-Gees as they pulled away with a six-point lead. The Ravens regained control on the back of Hinz, who had 13 points in the first half.
The Ravens again led by two at the half, 37-35, but as so often has been the case this season the third quarter was where Carleton was at its best, jumping out to a 58-49 lead.
“It was a tough third quarter for us,” said Ottawa head coach James Derouin. “Carleton is sort of known for their quarter and coming out of halftime. We made a couple shots early in the quarter and I thought we had sort of sustained it, but the O-glass ended up killing us in the end. I think 29 second chance points and you just can’t give a team this good that many second chance opportunities.”
The Gee-Gees made a valiant effort through the fourth, but the Ravens experience came through and they made the most of their opportunities at the free throw line.
Carleton was 21-for-25 from the free throw line, while Ottawa was 8-for-11 which left the Gee-Gees coaching staff questioning a number of calls.
Despite the loss, the Gee-Gees say they will look to grow from this experience and will use it as motivation for next season.
“I just told them how proud I am of them,” said Derouin. “They should be proud of the season they had. Our goal is to be back here next year. We were bronze last year, silver this year and hopefully that leads to a gold medal next year.”
Fourth-year forward Johnny Berhanemeskel led the Gee-Gees with 19 points.
In the bronze medal game the University of Alberta Golden Bears defeated the No. 4 Victoria Vikes 61-53 Sunday morning.
It was a quick turnaround for the Canada West rivals, who both lost in Saturday night’s semifinals and also lost an hour of sleep thanks to daylight savings time.
“I don’t think either team was excited about playing with the time change in the bronze medal game,” said Golden Bears head coach Barnaby Craddock, whose troops defeated Victoria 82-77 in the conference final last weekend.
Alberta took control early on jumping out to a 25-4 lead after the first quarter.
Victoria’s offence rebounded in the second quarter as they outscored Alberta 17-15, but it wasn’t enough as Alberta led 40-21 at the half.
The Vikes outscored the Golden Bears for the entire second half, but were unable to erase the advantage Alberta built up in the early going.
Golden Bears star graduating forward Jordan Baker led his team with 16 points and eight assists in his final CIS game. Victoria’s fifth-year guard Terrell Evans finished his career leading the Vikes with a game-high 16 rebounds and 18 points.