Carleton, Ottawa collision course set for Capital Hoops Classic

Photos by Seyran Mammadov / Ellen Bond
Photos by Seyran Mammadov / Ellen Bond

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Capital Hoops is here, and for those who haven’t been keeping track, this year’s spectacle is once again a must-see matchup. The Carleton Ravens are flying high and the uOttawa Gee-Gees will gallop in full steam ahead, and in what promises to be another unpredictable affair, basketball fans will want to keep their eyes glued to these February 2nd marquee matchups.

To set the table for what will be a true powerhouse tilt on the men’s side, fans needn’t look further than the top five teams across several statistical categories. Both the No. 1 Ravens (18-0) and No. 10 Gee-Gees (13-5) have rolled out well-rounded teams, competing at the highest level across several key facets of the game.

Both teams rank in and around the top in scoring per contest, led by the OUA-leading 89.2 PPG from the Ravens. Certainly, with numbers like this, it’s clear that both teams know how to put the ball in the bucket. They can shoot it from beyond the arc, but more than that, are efficient in their overall shooting, with both checking in at a strong 46.8 FG%.

Even with this offensive prowess, however, fans may not witness a high-scoring affair come Friday. In fact, both teams from our nation’s capital sit in the top three in points per game allowed, proving that they can limit their opposition on the defensive side of the ball. Part of this defensive success comes from their overall styles of play and their ability to play the game smart. Both teams take care of the ball – turning it over just 12 times per game, respectively – and are able to play a disciplined game by violating around 17 fouls per contest.

Part of what makes these teams successful is their strength as a unit. The Ravens are led by the duo of Eddie Ekiyor and Yasiin Joseph, who pour in 29 combined points per game, but receive contributions from several other talented scorers and defenders, including Marcus Anderson and Emmanuel Owootoah’s 2+ steals per game, respectively; Munis Tuti’s 5.1 assists per contest; and Cam Smith’s 55% shooting from the field.

On the flip side, the Gee-Gees roll in with a strong team game as well. Ottawa boasts a quartet of double-digit scorers, who combine to tally more than 60% of the team’s scoring. While it is tough to key in on just one of these threats, the play of Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles has made waves across several facets of the game. The talented forward leads the team in scoring (13.2 PPG), rebounding (9.4 RPG), and blocks (1.3 BPG), and is certainly one to watch out for on both ends of the floor. But from Pierre-Charles and beyond, it’s clear that the Gee-Gees are a tough opponent for anyone; something that can also be said about Ottawa’s women’s squad.

While they may not boast the offensive firepower of their Capital Hoops opponents, the Gee-Gees women’s team (12-6) is a definite defensive threat. Ranking third in the OUA in points allowed per game, Ottawa is a top five squad in terms of steals, boasting three players in the OUA’s top 15; opponents’ field goal percentage, limiting teams to just 33.3% from the field; and blocks.  

Looking to put a chink in that defensive armor will be the dynamic trio Heather Lindsay (12.1 PPG), Elizabeth Leblanc (11.3 PPG), and Catherine Traer (9.9 PPG), who provide over 30 points per game combined for the top ranked Ravens offense. The team as a whole will be in tough against Ottawa’s stout D, but will bring averages of over 73 PPG and 41.6 FG% to try and slay their latest combatant.

Much of this success, meanwhile, comes from the ability to move the ball, and for the OUA-leading Ravens (17.3 APG), it is a team effort to do so. This balanced effort transcends just the passing game, however, as the No. 2 nationally ranked Ravens spread the wealth in terms of rebounding, steals, and shot blocking as well, which makes each member a threat when they step on the court.

The Gee-Gees, in an attempt to supplement their defense with a strong offensive performance, will be led by a similar trio of talented scorers – Brigette Lefebvre-Okankwu (12.6 PPG), Amelie Hachey (10.6 PPG), and Maia Timmons (8.7 PPG) – who also combine for north of 30 PPG. The team will also need to rely on their strong rebounding efforts – especially on the offensive glass – to make the most of their opportunities and cause headaches for the tough Ravens squad.

It’s a marquee matchup for a reason. None of the teams taking the court in our nation’s capital have taken their foot off the gas this season, and Friday’s high-octane affairs should be no different.

The can’t-miss action will kick off at the Canadian Tire Centre at 6:00pm on February first as the women’s squads take to the court, with the men’s teams to follow at 8:00pm. Games can be seen live on OUA.tv, with streaming options available as well on Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, or Amazon Fire.