It took seven years for the Holland College Hurricanes to earn their first Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) men’s basketball banner.
The second came a lot quicker.
The Hurricanes repeated as conference champions Sunday with a 90-75 victory over the Crandall Chargers.
“It feels great. It’s awesome,” guard Jake Kendrick said. “This is my family. It feels great to win with these boys.”
The Hurricanes entered the conference championship in Bible Hill, N.S., as the third seed. They blew out the University of King’s College 105-59 on Friday and knocked off second-place Mount Saint Vincent 87-68 in Saturday’s semifinal to make it to the title game.
“The boys played well,” first-year head coach Josh Whitty said. “We beat two top-10 teams in the country here this weekend.”
Alvin Parker led the way in the championship game with 30 points while Chase Bowden added 21 and Orlando Palmer 13. Bowden added nine rebounds while Parker had six assists.
Osman Barrie led the Chargers with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Holland College trailed 23-14 after one quarter, but went on a couple key runs in the second period to lead 38-36 at the half. They increased the margin to 11 (66-55) heading to the final quarter.
After the first quarter, Whitty told his players to settle in, get comfortable and be confident.
“There was never a panic today,” the coach said. “We knew that we were going to turn it around and it started with us getting stops on the defensive end.”
He pointed out the team allowed 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and four in the second. Whitty said it was a group effort against a big Chargers team.
Kendrick said the team remained confident, despite falling behind early.
“It just shows how much fight we have. We never once thought we couldn’t win.”
Holland College and Crandall will both attend the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship from March 11 to 16 in Squamish, B.C.
“We’ll enjoy it tonight and tomorrow we’ll be back trying to figure out how we can win three more (games),” Whitty said Sunday.
Kendrick said there is some unfinished business from last season when the Hurricanes won the first two games at nationals.
“We came second in the country last year and we have one more game to win this year,” he said.
The St. Thomas Tommies defeated the Hurricanes 66-49 Sunday in the ACAA women’s basketball final.
The Tommies held quarter leads of 22-16, 33-24 and 47-42.
Kelly Vass led St. Thomas with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Jazlin Barker led the Hurricanes with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
She was 5-for-19 from the floor.
Jenea Barrett had 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting. Menderia Smith was 3-for-9 for nine points while Ashley Moss was 3-for-7 for seven points while adding 12 rebounds.
The Hurricanes and Tommies had qualified for CCAA championships with wins on Saturday. This year’s national tournament will be held from March 11 to 16 in Saint-Lambert, Que.
This will be the Hurricanes women’s basketball team’s first trip to nationals.
Holland College defeated Mount Saint Vincent 85-59 in Saturday’s semifinal.