Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Great Montreal Gazette article on Canada Games Gold Medal game

'I did what I had to do to win' Ossé, Chery team up for buzzer-beater By ARPON BASU

Amateur athlete of the week Kemy Ossé (17 yrs) led Quebec basketball team to Canada Games gold medal on Saturday in PEI, with Ossé hitting game-tying and winning baskets in final five seconds.

Every young basketball player has played out the moment time and time again on the playground: The ball in their hands, the game on the line, the clock winding down.

Though it is a situation they practise for their entire lives, very few players actually get the opportunity to live out that dream.

When Kemy Ossé got that chance, he didn't waste it.

Ossé was a one-man force in the men's basketball final at the Canada Games on Saturday in Prince Edward Island with 17 fourth-quarter points, including the tying and game-winning baskets in the final five seconds of regulation to give Quebec the gold medal with a 105-103 win over Nova Scotia.

Quebec had steamrolled its way to the final, never trailing in any of its four games. The closest anyone had come to beating Quebec was a 32-point squeaker over Saskatchewan in the preliminary round.

So when Nova Scotia erased a 17-point deficit just before halftime to move ahead 77-74 entering the fourth quarter, Ossé could sense there was fear in the eyes of some of his teammates.

"At a certain point, they just wanted it more than we did," Ossé, 17, said Sunday at his Park Extension home. "I could see that no one else was answering the call, so I just decided I would do what I had to do to win the game."

Ossé finished the game with 30 points on 14-of-31 shooting, along with nine rebounds. In the fourth quarter alone, he went 8-for-14 from the floor, but none were bigger than those final two shots.

Quebec's full-court pressure forced a Nova Scotia turnover with about 12 seconds to play, and on the ensuing possession Ossé made a fantastic spin move through two defenders in the lane for a layup, tying the game 103-103.

When Nova Scotia went to inbound the ball, Montreal's Kenny-Fred Chery forced another turnover immediately, giving Quebec the ball back with 4.9 seconds left.

Ossé took the inbound, drove to the free-throw line and with his back practically facing the basket, hit a desperation shot with one-10th of a second to play, giving Quebec the dramatic victory.

"When it left my hand, I knew it was going in," he said. "I just saw it in the air and it looked good all the way."

The fact Chery and Ossé teamed up to produce the winning basket was appropriate, seeing as the two will be teammates once again this fall at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.

Both are products of the Park-Ex Knights basketball program, which placed five members on the Quebec team that competed in P.E.I. and has become a city powerhouse in only four years.

Ossé left last year to play at Archbishop Carroll, where he led the team in scoring as a sophomore and was an honourable mention all-league player. This year, he'll be joined by Chery and another one of their Quebec teammates, Jonathan Tshibuy, also a Park-Ex Knights graduate.

Chery has been considered one of Quebec's top talents for years, a lightning-quick guard who can score seemingly at will. For instance, Chery was not shooting the lights out in the early going of the Canada Games tournament. But when the games really counted, Chery turned it on, scoring 24 points in the semi-final and 21 points in the final.

With several players graduating from last year's team at Archbishop Carroll, Chery will be asked to contribute right away, while Ossé will be the go-to player in what could be an all-Montreal backcourt playing in the U.S. capital.

The director of the Park-Ex Knights program, Kemy's older brother Nelson, says both players are getting exactly what they deserve.

"These kids work hard, they're the two hardest-working kids in the program," he said. "Kemy and Kenny know what it takes; you've got to be in the gym shooting."

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