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Despite missing playoffs, Hurricane reflect fondly on past season

May 1, 2017
By Jeremy Izzio - , Westfield Republican

While the Chautauqua Hurricane failed to make the Premier Basketball League playoffs again following the 2016-2017 regular season, the team made many strides toward becoming a playoff-caliber team.

The Hurricane improved their record to 6-13 last season and missed the playoffs by just 4.5 games, compared to the previous season where they finished with just three wins and well outside the playoff hunt.

This past season was the first under the leadership of owner Sixto Rosario and second with coach Jerome Moss at the helm. Moss took over personnel decisions, along with Rosario, this past season, which was a rewarding experience for both.

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Despite not making the Premier Basketball?League playoffs, Geno Green and the Chautauqua Hurricane made strides in their second year in Northern Chautauqua County.

"We made tremendous progress year one to year two," Moss said. "The reason was Sixto Rosario took over and when he became owner, we had total control. This season, having total control and being new to the whole thing, we learned as we went. We learned how to run a team and what we will work on next year. It was a learning process, but it was fun and demanding."

The team also succeeded in fulfilling one of its missions last season: getting players exposure to give them opportunities at higher levels of the game.

Leading scorer and former Washington Wizard Edwin Ubiles departed for Puerto Rico during the season to be a part of the Puerto Rican National Team. Also leaving the team was Tyquan Stroman, who went to Europe for Euro League tryouts. Both players were sorely missed down the stretch and played an integral part as members of the Hurricane.

While many strides were made, the team also let a few games get away, including multiple games against Chautauqua County rival, the Jamestown Jackals. The Hurricane went 0-4 versus the Jackals despite holding a fourth-quarter lead in nearly every game.

Jamestown went on to finish the season at 9-7 and earned the fourth and final playoff spot. Had Chautauqua converted those games into wins, one could make an argument it may have been the Hurricane in the playoffs with Jamestown on the outside looking in.

The Hurricane organization is currently on break following the conclusion of the season, but Moss has been busy formulating an offseason plan to become a top PBL team.

"We take a break after the season is over," Moss said of where the team is in the offseason. "We are getting back at it in the beginning of May. First thing we do is find players, attend player combines and gather material to see who we want to bring in. Then we get tryouts going. We are very busy once we jump into the offseason preparation."

He went on to lay out a four-point plan that he believes will not only help the team grow on the court, but will also help it become a bigger presence in the community.

That plan includes the following points:

1) Recruit high character players with talent who want to help the team take the next step.

2) Get more sponsors. To run the team they need money and need sponsors.

3) Work on the fan base and get people out to the games consistently.

4) Get the guys out in the community more so the community can see how good they are as players and people.

For now, it's all about recruiting for Moss and Rosario, who will be in full-court press recruiting mode very soon.

"Its all about the guys we recruit," Moss said. "It's up to Sixto and I to bring together guys with a good chemistry and break into the top-four teams (who make the playoffs each season)."

In parting, Moss thanked all of the sponsors the team had and all the fans who came out to watch the team play.



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