Holland College men's basketball team sets sights on national title

·3 min read
Logan Rempel, right, dribbles past a defender during Holland College's win against Mount Saint Vincent University on Oct. 30. (Darrell Theriault - image credit)
Logan Rempel, right, dribbles past a defender during Holland College's win against Mount Saint Vincent University on Oct. 30. (Darrell Theriault - image credit)

The Holland College men's basketball team dominated the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association championship for seven straight years.

But that run ended in the 2019-20 season. The Hurricanes lost in the semifinal of the championship tournament just before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

With a return to play this fall after a cancelled 2020-21 season, the team hopes to regain championship status in the region. They're off to a good start after beating Mount Saint Vincent University 108-82 on Saturday.

But the team wants more than an Atlantic banner.

Head coach Josh Whitty said winning at the national level is a target.

"That's been our aim here as a program for the last number of years, and we certainly want to be back on that stage," Whitty said.

He said his team this year is resilient and hardworking. He believes they're up for the challenge of winning a national title.

Hiatus from competitive basketball

The year-long stretch away from varsity sports was an eye-opener for everyone, Whitty said.

"As a competitive athlete or as a competitive coach, you can often take the next season for granted. I don't think anybody's doing that here now."

Holland College
Holland College

Spencer Rossiter, a Holland College player from Summerside, agrees with his coach. He said being away from competitive basketball made him cherish it more.

"It makes you appreciate just the whole process," he said.

Rossiter, a shooting guard, joined the team this year. He is a former provincial playoff MVP at Three Oaks Senior High School.

He said he's excited to play varsity basketball at home.

"They [Holland College] came to me at the beginning of the year and, being from the Island, I've worked with Josh Whitty through Basketball P.E.I. for the last three years. So I got to build a relationship with them."

He hopes to develop his game this season and keep the team's winning tradition, Rossiter said.

"My personal goal this year is really just to develop and just become a better player and adjust to this level of competition," he said.

Holland College
Holland College

Losing Atlantic title 'below standards'

Another guard, Logan Rempel, returns to the team for his final year. He said not winning the Atlantic championship last year was below the team's standards.

"We won seven championships before that so I think the goal was definitely to win another one," he said. "To be knocked out in the semifinal game, an overtime game, was heartbreaking."

Being away from competitive basketball was tough on him and most of his teammates, he said.

"It was really hard. It was such a big part of everyone's life and it was kind of stripped away from us."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the year, the new recruits and old teammates haven't had much time to bond or practice together, Rempel said. However, they're doing fine so far and can only get better, he said.

As for the team's goal of winning regionally and nationally, he's optimistic.

"We got a lot of guys with different experiences through the [U.S.] and in Ontario and the mentality is definitely there so far," he said.

"If we can maintain that throughout the year, we're going to be pretty scary."

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