Next man up
Shorthanded Hurricanes pound Blue Devils
How good is the Holland College Hurricanes men’s basketball team?
They were missing five players for a variety of reasons during the weekend, including two of its regular starters, and blasted the King’s Blue Devils by 29 Sunday in Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) play.
Was it a fluke? They won by 42 on Saturday.
The Blue Devils, who have the second-best record in the conference, did play without their leading scorer in Thomas Watson (16.7 points per game).
“We’re missing guys that are key contributors, but (other) guys stepped up,” Hurricanes head coach Josh Whitty said Sunday. “We knew we were deep all along. I think this certainly put it to the test.”
Holland College, which dressed eight players for each game, led 24-17 after the first quarter Sunday and 36-24 at the half.
The Blue Devils got it back to 10 a couple of times during the third quarter, but each time the country’s second-ranked Hurricanes scored to halt a King’s run.
With 45 seconds remaining in the quarter Mirza Muzher hit a three-point shot to make it a 13point lead. After a King’s miss, Travis Adams hit a trey at the buzzer to make it a 16-point advantage heading to the fourth.
Muzher added four more treys in the final quarter.
“They were clawing back in it,” Whitty said.
“Some hot shooting in the fourth certainly helped spread the lead out.”
Holland College is 13-0 and King’s is 10-4.
The Hurricanes have outscored their opponents by an average of 34 points this season.
They play at Mount Allison (47) Wednesday at 8 p.m. and Whitty said he hopes to have a couple of players back in the lineup for the contest.
The Hurricanes women’s team is in the opposite situation.
It played the first semester with a short bench, but added four girls to start January.
“I think having our extra bodies around has really helped,” head coach Mike Connolly said. “We’re sharper and have a little more energy left at the end of the game.”
It showed on Sunday when the country’s fourth-ranked Hurricanes held the Blue Devils to 1-for-19 shooting in the fourth quarter and 5-for-31 in the second half.
Holland College led 17-7 after the first quarter and 36-24 at the half. “We got after them a little bit at halftime and we came out with a little better defensive intensity,” Connolly said.
The Hurricanes bolstered their strong core during the Christmas break with the additions of former UPEI Panthers guard Candace Smith, Charlottetown’s Sarah Steele, Toronto’s Milcania Diaz-Rojas and Bahamian Chrishanda Rahming.
The team’s goal is to repeat as conference champions and get to the program’s third straight national tournament.
Conference-leading Holland College (10-1) plays at secondplace Mount Allison (8-2) Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Holland College Hurricanes forward Travis Adams, right, takes a shot as King’s Blue Devils forward Ethan Durelle defends. Durelle is a former UPEI Panther.