The Holland College Hurricanes aren’t fazed by the potential of a hostile environment waiting for them in Laval, Que.
The ’Canes open play at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men’s basketball championship Thursday against the Montreal-based Dynamiques de Brebeuf in quarter-final action.
“We take crowds really well,” said guard Marcus Dawkins. “That’s what I love about our team. We stick together so well where we're in our own bubble and our own zone.”
Jace Colley said the team has thrived during road games all season, knowing it was going to get the opponents best game as the reigning five-time Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association champs.
“Their home crowd comes out for us. They want to see us. We’re used to having big home crowds. We thrive on it,” he said. “We’re hoping they bring people out.”
With the potential for the gym to be rocking, head coach Josh Whitty said getting off to a quick start will be important.
“It’s important for us to set the tone,” he said. “They’re a team that scores in the 80s on the season, and we’re a team that scores in the 110s, so we want to set the pace right from the jump.”
While the Hurricanes have a number of guys back from last year’s team, there are some rookies, including Colley and Dawkins, at the CCAA level.
“They’re used to big-game atmospheres,” Whitty said. “There’s been no stage that we’ve been on this year that’s bothered them.”
The Dynamiques lost a heartbreaking Quebec conference final 78-77 to Montmorency when their player’s toe was on the three-point line when he hit a shot with 1.5 seconds to play.
The Hurricanes are a deep squad that has a handful of players who can go off for 20-plus on a given night.
“It gives you a level of comfort that you can rely on your teammates like that,” Colley said of the depth.
He’s a versatile forward who can be described as a Swiss army knife-style player.
“I like to do a lot of different things well,” he said. “That’s where I pride myself on, is doing everything on the court.”
For that, he was named the conference’s rookie of the year.
“It was special,” he acknowledged. “It was not something I was thinking about all year, but to actually get it, it meant a lot to me and I appreciate it.”