LAVAL, QUE. – When the Holland College Hurricanes needed a spark Thursday, a veteran provided it.
Down six late in the third quarter, Roosevelt (Chicken) Whyley banked a three-pointer to cut the deficit to three heading to the final 10 minutes.
“It was a bit of a boost to start the fourth quarter,” head coach Josh Whitty said. “We went out and took the lead back almost immediately.”
The Hurricanes defeated the Dynamiques de Brebeuf from Montreal 104-92 in quarter-final action at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship in Laval, Que.
“Guys stepped up,” Whitty said after the game. “Kyle Lefave hit a big shot off the bench – played his ass off really. He had eight assists and 12 points off the bench. He was fantastic.”
The bench boss said he was happy how his players responded, especially being behind in the second half. He pointed to the group’s experience as a key.
“There was never really a panic,” he said. “It was just a matter of making the next play, getting the next stop. . . Hopefully that’s a trend that continues this week.”
Jace Colley racked up 22 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in being named the Hurricanes player of the game. Whyley and Marcus Dawkins each chipped in 21 points while Lefave and Chase Bowden both had 12 in a balanced attack, which has been a Hurricanes key all season long.
Anthony Fisiru had 24 points to lead the Dynamiques.
The Hurricanes led 27-20 after the first quarter and 48-45 at the half, but went to the fourth trailing 72-69.
Whitty said his team had stretches where they were up by 10 points in the first quarter but took some bad shots and saw the lead evaporate to three. The Dynamiques hit a shot at the end of the half to cut Holland College’s lead to three.
The Hurricanes will play the top-ranked Seneca Sting from Toronto in today’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal. The Sting defeated the Lakeland Rustlers 77-69 in Thursday’s first game.
Whitty said the Sting is an athletic, deep and well-coached team that was ranked No. 1 for most of the season for a reason. He added it’s going to take four really good quarters of basketball and better shooting for his team to book its ticket to the championship game.
A couple of Hurricanes dealt with cramps on Thursday and were getting water and bananas after the game.
“The kids put their hearts on the line, so they’re just busting it on every play,” Whitty said. “The intensity level is just at a different level than it is all regular season.”
The Hurricanes lost 93-81 to the Sheridan Bruins in last year’s semifinal. With the turnover on its roster, Whitty said, they don’t dwell about past years, but they do take the lessons learned heading forward.
Holland College has made one finals appearance in its history, losing in the championship game during its first nationals visit in 2013. It has two fifth- and two third-place finishes since then.
A look at the Holland College Hurricanes leaders from the CCAA quarter-final on Thursday.
Jace Colley 22
Marcus Dawkins 21
Roosevelt Whyley 21
Kyle Lefave 12
Chase Bowden 12
Jalen King 10
Jace Colley 14
Roosevelt Whyley 7
Marcus Dawkins 6
Kyle Lefave 8
Jalen King 3
Chase Bowden 3
Marcus Dawkins 3
Team shooting percentages
Field goals – 51.9 (42-for-81)
Three-pointers – 25 (7-for-28)
Free throws – 81.3 (13-for-16)
Colley said: “It was an exciting atmosphere, and I think we’re even more prepared now for Friday’s game. The team is focused on putting their best game on the floor.”