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Illawarra Hawks v Melbourne United Game Report

The Illawarra Hawks have won the inaugural Australian Basketball Challenge in Brisbane with a fourth-quarter clinic to beat Melbourne United 94-86 on Monday night. The Loggins-Bruton Cup was decided in the very last game, and it was Hawks bigman duo AJ Ogilvy and Nick Kay doing the damage in a 27-17 final quarter. MVP contender Ogilvy may have put forward the single best individual performance of the entire tournament on his way to 24 points (9/12 shooting), nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. Exciting combo guard Marvelle Harris (16 points on 6/10), solid bigman Nick Kay (12 points) and zippy point guard Rotnei Clarke (10, three and three) backed up Ogilvy, while Cedric Jackson and United shared the wealth. Jackson had 14 and seven dimes while new recruit Tai Wesley (19 points on 8/10 shooting) was unstoppable on every corner of the court. Five United players finished on double figures, while star shooting guard Chris Goulding played only the first five minutes, sitting the rest of the night as a precaution (calf tightness). Wesley's early post moves screamed, 'please guard me', but Illawarra didn't heed the warning as the former Breaker punished them time after time (nine points and two rebounds in the first six minutes). While United is full of offensive weapons this season, teams need to treat Wesley as an automatic double team on every low-post catch. Fellow bigman Devin Williams punctuated the first term with a heavy follow slam as United went into the second term up 26-25 and kept the foot down as bench guards Nate Tomlinson and Kyle Adnam connected from deep. Melbourne held a five-point buffer at half-time before going ice cold in the third. The pendulum had well and truly swung as Clarke and the Hawks hit Melbourne with a 9-0 run over the first four minutes of the quarter, and got the better of the monster mash between both sets of bigmen. Coach Dean Demopoulos subbed in an ultra-small unit late in the third to gain control of the game, but it only allowed Holyfield to stamp his authority – including a monstrous put-back two-hander. The Hawks simply executed better in a physical fourth quarter as Jackson's efforts to steer United to victory ultimately came up short. Rhys Martin took advantage of a mismatch with Adnam and made him pay down low to stretch the margin out to seven points with 6:35 remaining as Kay and Harris closed it out. Illawarra, who are considered long-shots to make the top four, showed that they are again a team to be reckoned with in 2016/17. Congratulations, Illawarra Hawks, the 2016 Australian Basketball Challenge champions.   ILLAWARRA HAWKS 94 (AJ Ogilvy 24, Marvelle Harris 16, Nick Kay 12) MELBOURNE UNITED 86 (Tai Wesley 19, Cedric Jackson 14, Kyle Adnam 12) BOX SCORE
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