The clock has struck 12 on the Holland College Hurricanes men’s basketball team.
Despite a valiant effort and many comebacks, the Hurricanes ran out of magic and lost 77-70 to the Vancouver Island University Mariners in the championship game at the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) basketball championships in Montreal Saturday.
The Hurricanes were looking to win their first national championship, but they take home silver medals from the tournament.
The Mariners got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 16-5 lead early in the first quarter.
However, the Hurricanes clawed back into it, finishing the first on an 11-0 run to tie the game 20-20 after 10 minutes, punctuated by a three-pointer from Alvin Parker with three seconds remaining.
The first part of the second quarter went back and forth, but Vancouver Island University went on a 14-3 run in the last 6:33 of the quarter to take a 40-31 lead into halftime.
Any time the Hurricanes would make a push, All-Canadian point guard Brandon Jones was there to answer with a big basket, including seven points in the second quarter run.
The trend continued in the second half, as Holland College tied the game at 52-52 late in the third quarter.
But Jones, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, answered with consecutive three-pointers to give Vancouver Island University a 58-54 lead after 30 minutes.
The fourth quarter saw the Hurricanes tie the game on numerous occasions, even taking a 67-64 lead with 3:53 left.
However, it was Jones who would again shut the door, scoring eight of his team’s last 11 points to finish with a game-high 34 and propel the Mariners to their first national championship since 1994.
Parker led the Hurricanes with 23 points, while Mike Hardy had 21 in his final college basketball game.
After the game, Parker was named a first-team tournament all-star, while Chase Bowden and Mike Hardy were both named second-team all-stars.
It also added another silver medal to the Morrison mantle, as head coach George Morrison joined his son Scott, who won a CIS silver medal last week as head coach of the Lakehead Thunderwolves men’s basketball team.
The result concludes a Hurricanes season that saw them go 22-4 overall, including an 18-3 record in the regular season that led to their first ACAA championship victory.
They will enter next season without Leo Morris, Randez Simmons, and brothers Mike and Steve Hardy, all of whom were seniors this season.
They entered the CCAA tournament as the fifth seed, and they took the floor looking to earn respect.
Not only did they do that, they provided more magic when they defeated the top-seeded Langara Falcons, who had only lost one game all season, by a score of 87-86 to reach the championship game.
They also won over fans at home and in Montreal, many of whom came out to show their support at John Abbott College and on social media.
However, their attention now turns to earning a trip to Squamish, B.C., where Quest University will host the 2014 CCAA men’s basketball championships.