Thunder Bay, Ontario – After 33 years the wait is over – the Lakehead men’s basketball team is headed to the national championships. Jamie Searle scored 18 points and iced the game with two late free throws as the Thunderwolves defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees 78-73, Saturday afternoon at Montpetit Hall in Ottawa to win OUA bronze and secure the conference’s final berth at the Carleton-hosted CIS Championships, next weekend at Ottawa.
Down 33-26 at halftime, Lakehead was unable to cut into the deficit in the third quarter but poured in on in the fourth, outscoring the Gee-Gees 30-18 in the final ten minutes. The ‘Wolves, in fact went up by as many as 10 points when Anthony McIntosh (Ottawa) threw down a fast break dunk before Ottawa rallied back within two points. Lakehead weathered the storm however, and once Searle connected on his two free throws with 3 seconds left it was over.
“I think that throughout the year our fourth quarter comebacks were viewed more as a weakness early in the game but tonight we had the confidence knowing that we could win after going down early,” Thunderwolves head coach Scott Morrison.
Sophomore post Yoosrie Salhia (Toronto) had a complete effort with 16 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals to control the inside action while point guard Greg Carter (Ottawa) had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Andrew Hackner added 10 points including two key three pointers for the ‘Wolves which shot 54.4% from the field and 52.6% beyond the arc.
Perhaps the biggest story of the game was the play of McIntosh who played 28 minutes – more than the rest of the 2009-10 season combined – and provided that ‘Wolves with the defence and athleticism needed to slow the Gee-Gees’ athletic players.
Warren Ward (Brampton, Ontario) led Ottawa with 29 points with nine rebounds and two blocks. Donnie Gibson (Kingston, Ontario) and Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto) added 16 points apiece, though Gibson-Bascombe was harassed into 11 turnovers. Ottawa shot 43.3% from the floor and 45.0% from the 3-point line.
The CIS Championships run March 19-21 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
Lakehead Sports Information Director
Thunder Bay, ON