LAVAL, QUE. – It took some extra work, but the Holland College Hurricanes earned a national bronze medal Saturday in Laval, Que.
The Hurricanes erased a 20-point deficit Saturday morning to defeat the Southern Alberta Institute Technology (SAIT) Trojans 83-79 in overtime in the bronze semifinal and then defeated the Dynamiques de Brebeuf 91-87 in double overtime Saturday night to finish third at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men’s basketball championship.
“What a day to remember,” Hurricanes head coach Josh Whitty said Saturday night. “All these players will never forget what they accomplished today. It was incredible. A real gutsy performance.”
The victories came hours after the Hurricanes, seeking to get back to their first national final since 2013, lost what Whitty called a “heart-breaking” 90-86 decision to the Seneca Sting in Friday’s semifinal.
“It was the only bus ride we’ve ever had where nobody said a word,” Whitty shared.
It didn’t look good for Holland College early Saturday, trailing the Trojans by 20 points with 2:42 left in the first half and going to the break down 45-26.
“We talked in the halftime about the kind of season we had and the kind of guys we had,” Whitty said. “We didn't want to sit around all summer with the sour taste in our mouth of that performance.”
They bounced back in the third and found themselves trailing by six (55-49) heading to the final quarter of regulation.
“(We) fought like hell in the fourth and overtime to win it,” Whitty said.
Jace Colley had 23 points and seven rebounds to pace the Hurricanes while Roosevelt (Chicken) Whyley had 14 points and 11 rebounds and fifth-year veteran Chase Bowden chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds.
In the bronze medal match against Brebuef, who the Hurricanes defeated in their first game of the eight-team tournament on Thursday, Holland College led 24-14 after the first quarter, 38-27 at the half and 54-48 heading to the fourth. The teams were tied 71-71 after regulation and 78-78 after the first overtime.
Colley led the Hurricanes with 27 points and seven rebounds while Michael-Ange Kayeye scored 17 and Bowden chipped in 12 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals in 46 minutes during his final game as a Hurricane.
“He was unbelievable. Some of the plays he made down the stretch were enormous,” Whitty said. “He had blocks, he had takes to the rim, he just did a little bit of everything today. That’s what he’s been doing here for five years.”
Jalen King added 14 points while Marcus Dawkins had nine points and 10 rebounds and Whyley contributed seven points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes before taking a shot to the head, which resulted in one of his eyes being swollen shut.
“He kept looking at me with one eye saying, ‘I’m good, I’m good’, but he wasn't,” Whitty said.
The Hurricanes are the first team since the Langara Falcons (1997 to 1999) to win medals in three consecutive nationals.