St. Thomas basketball had one of its toughest days of the season, as the Holland College Hurricanes came to town.
First, the women’s team faced off against the Hurricanes. The Tommies had won the previous game in Prince Edward Island 87-79, but that game the Hurricanes were missing three starters.
The Hurricanes started out on fire, taking everything to the hoop. After the first half of play the Tommies were in a big hole, being down 49-25.
Tommies head coach Fred Connors was frustrated with his team’s ability to rebound the ball, as they gave up 14 offensive rebounds which often ended in easy layups for Holland College.
“Even when we did do a good job at getting stops, we didn’t get the stops. We were giving up too many clean looks,” said Connors. On offense, he thought his team was taking too long to make decisions and move the basketball.
“I think if we clean up those two things it will get us back on the right track,” said Connors.
The Tommies slowed the Hurricanes down in the second half, but the early deficit was too much to overcome. The Tommies lost the third quarter by three and the won the fourth quarter by two, but still lost 89-64.
“I think the fixes are there. I don’t think it’s a major broken problem,” said Connors. “We’ll be okay moving forward.”
The Tommies could have stood to allow more outside shots, as the Hurricanes only hit two three pointers in the first half, and zero in the second. Almost all of the Hurricanes points came from inside the paint.
Sara Banks and Kelly Vass led the Tommies in scoring with 11 each. Kelly Vass came off the bench, as this was her first game back from a concussion.
“I was a little bit timid at first, but I feel like once I went in I was fine,” said Vass.
The Tommies have lost three of their last four games, which puts their record at 10-3.
The men’s team had similar struggles, as they battled the undefeated Hurricanes in the second game of the double header.
Early on it looked like it was going to be a close game, as the Tommies were sticking with the Hurricanes. Then, big man Ben Cripps sprained his ankle, and was sidelined for the rest of the game.
“He’s the guy inside. Once he was gone inside, they didn’t even back off the perimeter guys,” said Tommies head coach Dwight Dickinson. “With him inside, he’ll attack inside, they’ll shift off our perimeter guys, and we’ll get an inside out game going.”
Dickinson was unsure how long Cripps would be out.
That left the Tommies with an enormous problem; how to contain the interior scoring of Holland College. The biggest problem was DJ Wright, who scored 30 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and swatted three shots.
“I think the strength of the skills of at least five of their players was dominating over our players. I thought we were flat,” said Dickinson.
By the end of the first half the Tommies were down 62-34. Dickinson felt his team showed some fight in the third quarter. Though it didn’t change the end result, he was encouraged by it.
William Barber led the way in scoring for STU. He finished with 24 points. Moving the ball seemed to be the real problem for the Tommies. The Hurricanes defense forced 25 turnovers and STU only got two assists on the stat sheet. The Hurricanes won 108-75, which puts the Tommies’ record to 7-6.
“They’re a pretty good team, and you got to respect them,” said Barber. “But I think the next time we play them there will be a different outcome.”