By Stephen Macdonald
The Hurricanes beat the Crandall Chargers 90-75 to take the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association championship recently. But that’s old news. Now they are preparing for nationals.
In Bible Hill, Nova Scotia on March 2, the Holland College Hurricanes won the ACAA tournament, taking the trophy for the second year in a row.
The team first won February 28 against the University of Kings College Blue Devils, dominating with a final score of 105-59. The Hurricanes bested the Mount St. Vincent Mystics on March 1 in the semi-finals with a score of 87-68.
It wasn’t an easy win though. At the end of the first quarter of the last game the Hurricanes trailed the Chargers by nine points. But the experience of winning the title last year helped the team stay calm and play as a unit, said assistant coach Ryan Laughlin.
“I feel that our experience being in this situation last year made a big difference. There was no panic in the guys and we didn’t doubt ourselves for a second even when we were down at times. Staying together as a team and playing for each other during the tough moments in the game definitely made a difference.”
Everyone stayed together and played as a team all year, but certain veterans really took on a leadership role, said Laughlin.
“Being a team full of veterans, it almost seemed as all the players contribute at different points and in different ways through the season. I really felt that during the past weekend the guys who have been there before really stepped up. Guys like Chase Bowden, Steve Hardy, and Alvin Parker.”
Alvin Parker, the point guard who led the team in scoring with 30 points, said the win felt great because of the pressure.
“It was great to win man, honestly it was. We had a lot of pressure on us and we welcomed it.”
The pressure put the team in a good space and the way they handled it was very satisfying, said Parker.
“To take it all with stride as a team and leave how we set out was awesome.”
Laughlin said It was very fulfilling to have this end result after all the hard work.
“It is a great feeling to come out on top. It was a long season of ups and downs and it was great to see all the guys come together and play as a team at the end of the season. “
The next goal is to go for the national championship, said Laughlin.
“Being my first season with the team, it feels great to be able to experience a championship for the first time. And I know the players who were here last season are ready and focused to make another run at a national championship. “And the first year players are excited and ready to take on the challenge.”
After coming so close to the national championship last year, the team came second, the team is determined this year, said point guard Jake Kendrick.
“Heading to nationals, our team has one goal and that is to win three games and become the national champions. We won two games at nationals last year and this year our goal is to win one more.”
But for now, the team is basking in the moment after winning this past weekend, said Kendrick.
“It felt great to win the league championship again this year. It took a lot of hard work all year but coming out on top made it all worth it.”
Their keys to success now, and at nationals, will be determination and being tight as a team, Kendrick said.
“We have a lot of success because we’re a close team, we all get along well and all keep fighting to the end and have no quit.”
The team will continue to fight and take the championship at nationals, said Parker.
“We plan on going to nationals and bringing home the gold. Hopefully it all happens as planned and we get what we worked for.”
Laughlin doesn’t doubt the team will take the national championship and he looks forward to coaching again next year.
“I do plan on returning and will be looking forward to next season after we take care of business during the upcoming national championships.”