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Holland College Hurricanes
The Holland College Hurricanes men’s basketball team is going for a three-peat.
“We have two under our belt now, and certainly our goal would be to go out and defend last year’s championship,” coach Josh Whitty said.
The Hurricanes went 17-4 during last year’s Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) regular season and defeated the Crandall Chargers in the final. They went 1-2 at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship, a year after finishing second in the country.
The team will play an exhibition game tonight against the UNBSJ Seawolves at 9 p.m. at Holland College.
“We’re looking forward to taking on a new-look UNBSJ team,” Whitty said. “We’ve had two strong weeks in practice and it’ll be a good chance to see how far we’ve come.”
The Hurricanes will participate in the Mickey Place tournament next weekend at UPEI and travel to Sydney, N.S., to play in the Cape Breton University tournament the following weekend.
The open the ACAA season Nov. 1 at home against Mount Allison.
The Hurricanes are a mix of veteran returnees with some new additions added to the mix. The returnees include Chase Bowden, Orlando Palmer, Eamon Morrissy, Ali Abdulaziz and Shawn Lucas.
Bowden was an all-Canadian last year and Morrissey received the honour three years ago while at King’s. He played his first season with the Hurricanes last year.
“Before the ball even goes up we have two former all-Canadians on our roster and Orlando, who was a conference all-star last year,” Whitty said.
The team added a couple of recruits who will be familiar to Island basketball fans.
Forward Aaron Robbins graduated from UPEI in the spring after four years on the Panthers basketball team while guard Terrence Brown has four years of university ball experience with the Panthers.
There is also a
trio of guards from outside of the province joining the Hurricanes.
They include Tyree Gregory, Boston, Mass.; Trevone Grant, Nassau, Bahamas; and Daemar Thomas, Scarborough, Ont.
“I’m pretty pleased with the group we’ve got,” Whitty said.
“I think from top to bottom we’re very strong. I think we have a lot of depth in the backcourt, in particular, and certainly with Chase and Aaron both in the frontcourt, that’s a nice pairing and they obviously play well off of each other.”
The Hurricanes have added Dale McIsaac as an assistant coach as well this year.
The Hurricanes went 19-2 last year, finished second at the conference championship and earned their first berth to nationals. They play the Seawolves tonight at 7.
“This weekend will be a good test as to where we fit within the ACAA,” said Hurricane head coach Mike Connolly. “With our point guard (Jazlin Barker) out it will provide an opportunity for players to step up and play big minutes.”
The team lost a few players from last year’s squad, including Stef Hiltz and Lisa Edwards.
“We added some nice players this year. We’ve added to our depth considerably,” Connolly said. “This year we can go eight or nine or 10 deep. That makes a big difference come post-season time.”
The new recruits include a pair of Bahamian posts in Marvia Dean and Alexis Belle, point guard Allison Keane, of Fredericton, N.B.; Toronto guard Tianna Sullivan and guard Rayelle Morrison, who played at Colonel Gray before attending UPEI.
Hurricanes guard Menny Smith said she looks forward to this weekend’s games.
“It’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow as a team as the regular season gets closer,” she said. “Our team has had one of our best weeks of practising and we’re continuing to gel with one another. We’ll have to stay focused and take care of the ball to be successful against Mount A and UNBSJ.”
A look at exhibition basketball games being played starting today in Charlottetown.
7 p.m. – Holland College vs. UNBSJ, women
9 p.m. – Holland College vs. UNBSJ, men
10 a.m. – Holland College vs. Mount Allison, women
10 a.m. – UPEI vs. UNBSJ, men*
2 p.m. – Mount Allison vs. UNBSJ, women
* - Game being played at Colonel Gray. All other games at Holland College.