Mustangs trample Gee-Gees in quarterfinal

Brzozowicz dominant defensively; Smith paces with 17 points

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Opposing team members fight for the basketball

Shaun Ding

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY... Mustangs guard Ryan Barbeau and Ottawa forward Marvin Bazile battled for a ball in Friday’s first-round match-up. The 'Stangs went on to defeat the Gee-Gees 75-48.

Given the location and the hour, the tournament’s third game " which saw the Western Mustangs face off against the Ottawa Gee-Gees " was louder and livelier than the day’s previous match-ups.

Although the Purple and Silver presence made waves throughout the stands, the Mustangs representation could not compete with the sea of Garnet and Grey cheering on the hometown Gee-Gees.

The first quarter foreshadowed a back-and-fourth style contest, with neither side gaining a strong advantage. This ping-pong play was highlighted by a strong offensive presence from both teams.

By the end of the first quarter, with a 15-14 score tipped in Western’s favour, it appeared the game would require all four quarters to declare a victor.

But appearances can be deceiving.

Western head coach Brad Campbell’s words of wisdom clearly registered with his players and the Mustangs’ second quarter domination was arguably the game’s deciding factor.

When asked what about his tactics for turning the game around, Campbell stressed rebounding.

“A big concern of ours in the first quarter was our defensive rebounding. We gave up to many offensive rebounds … we felt if we could control the defensive boards, we could continue to grow our lead,” he said.

A three-pointer from Mustangs guard Matthew Curtis gave Western a 25-14 lead over the Gee-Gees in the second quarter, the team’s first notable lead of the game. Ottawa would never threaten for the remainder of the game as they crumbled on the offensive end and were completely outplayed by a potent Western defence.

Ottawa’s first point of the second frame came in the form of a foul shot late in the quarter. Gee-Gees guard Josh Wright finally cracked the Mustangs defence late in the second quarter, scoring the team’s one and only basket from the floor.

Holding Ottawa to a measly six points in the second quarter, the Mustangs were up 33-20 at half.

Trailing by 13, the Gee-Gees appeared to be energized for the third.

But under the pressure of forward Brad Smith, who dominated Western’s third quarter offence with 10 points, the Gees-Gees’ downfall continued.

Western forward Keenan Jeppesen played an outstanding fourth quarter, netting seven and bringing his game total to a team high 17 points.

Echoing Campbell’s sentiments, Jeppesen credited Western’s defensive superiority for its success.

“Controlling the glass and defensive rebounding made all the difference,” he said.

Smith agreed.

“Our guards played really well and shut down Ottawa’s two main guys.”

With 6:53 on the clock Ottawa wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Gee-Gees guard Josh Gibson-Bascombe netted a three-pointer to keep the spread at 20.

With just under five minutes to go, Campbell called a timeout, re-emphasizing defensive play to secure Western’s advancement into the semi-final.

A consistent Mustangs effort on both ends of the court ensured an ending to the Gees-Gees’ hopes of a national title. Running out the clock, the ’Stangs bid farewell to a deflated Ottawa squad by a final tally of 75-48.

Gee-Gees head coach Dave De Aveiro acknowledged Western’s dominance.

“We got beat by a better team. They executed their game plan and we didn’t make any shots.”

Discussing the upcoming challenge, Curtis discussed the Mustangs’ mentality heading into the semifinal match-up against the tournament’s top seed, Carleton Ravens.

“It’s the national championship and in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best and that’s Carleton,” he said.

“So we’re going to have to do that.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette