Main photo: The U14 Huntsville Hurricanes are 2019 Ontario Cup champions (from left) assistant coach Ross Clarke, Gavin Sutton, Daniel Clarke, Hayden Smith, Isaiah Nikiforuk, Kyler Van Kooy, Ben Plant, Cal Truax, Spencer Kidd, David Sasikumar, Carter Hewitt, and head coach Chris Nikiforuk.
It’s been a great season for the Huntsville Hurricanes U14 boys team, one that ended on the highest possible note: Ontario Cup champions.
The team began its season back in November 2018 with two exhibition games against North Bay. As a new team, with only five returning players, the boys came together and won both games. Moving along into the season with their first mini-tournament in January in Gravenhurst, the Hurricanes won all three of their games for a clean sweep.
Feeling confident, the U14 boys competed in the Barrie Royals Winter Classic Tournament at the end of January and made it into the final championship game, but came up short of the gold. With silver medals in hand, the team returned home to begin practicing for the Blue and Gold Tournament, which Huntsville hosted on February 9-10. Even with the tough competition, the Hurricanes still walked away with bronze medals.
Head coach Chris Nikiforuk said all of the players have worked hard and use each other’s strengths to get the best results on the court. “As coaches we hope to help them grow as individual players, team-mates and young men. We are very proud of this exceptional group for their efforts and their character.”
Drawing closer to the end of the season, the Hurricanes travelled to Ottawa for the Gloucester Wolverines Boys Invitational tournament on February 23-25 where they won all four of their round robin games, as well as the gold medal in the championship game. Their effort and character were truly seen in their winning results.
With two MUMBA (Markham Unionville Minor Basketball Association) tournaments leading up to the Ontario Basketball Championships, the boys kept up their strong play, taking silver medals in both tournaments.
The Ontario Basketball Championships were held in Ottawa on April 26-28. The Huntsville Hurricanes U14 boys team competed in Division 11, up three divisions from last year with a ranking of 11th out of 19 teams for the 2018/2019 Season.
Going into their final tournament the boys were supportive of one another both on and off the court, said Nikiforuk, as they are friends as well as teammates.
In their first game, Huntsville played against the Gloucester Wolverines and almost doubled their opponents’ score with a 62 to 38 win. Their second game had the Hurricances facing the Kingston Impact where the Hurricanes pulled ahead with a score of 42 to 33 for their second win and a spot in the championship game.
The final game was a fight to the end as the Hurricanes took on the IEM Spartans. The Huntsville team fought to maintain a lead throughout the game, but with the Spartans matching the Hurricanes’ 47 points the boys had to dig deep and play hard defence to hold their opponents there while slamming in six more points for the win. The Hurricanes brought home the Ontario Cup gold medal with a close score of 53 to 47.
“The team would like to thank the many hard working volunteers of the Huntsville Hurricanes organization for their efforts over many years which has developed a quality basketball program in our community,” said Nikiforuk. “We would not have had the season we did without the support of our families—thank you for all your efforts.”
For more information about the Huntsville Hurricanes, visit www.huntsvillehurricanes.ca.
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