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R11 Report: Penney, Lisch fire Hawks over Breakers

Former NBL MVP winners Kevin Lisch and Kirk Penney put on a show at Vector Arena on Sunday as the Illawarra Hawks handed the New Zealand Breakers their first home loss of the season, winning in style 107-83. Much of the interest coming into the game was on the return of former Breakers star, MVP winner and championship hero Penney with it being his first visit to Auckland as an opposition player since returning to the NBL after time in Europe. He didn’t fail to deliver with the first score of the game, fittingly a three, and he had 10 first quarter points and 16 for the half without a miss from the field. Penney finished with 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor, and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He enjoyed his return home and first ever game in Vector Arena. He's also thankful that he can now spend Christmas at home as well. "This is a tough place to play and it was awesome to play at Vector Arena. They haven’t lost here this season so we are pretty thankful for this win," Penney said. "We did move the ball well and maybe it's about us trying to stick together on the road, playing hard and we are getting better as the season goes on. It's so good to have a win like this. "I should thank the NBL for scheduling this game before Christmas so I can stay in New Zealand for a little bit and see mum, dad and family and enjoy Christmas here in New Zealand." The Hawks' other former MVP Lisch put in an outstanding performance with 24 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, and 3-of-6 from deep. And then with MVP candidate for this season AJ Ogilvy providing a strong presence inside with 18 points, the Hawks were unstoppable. Illawarra drilled its first five threes of the night to lead 19-6 early. From there, try as they might the Breakers never got closer than the nine points they were within early in the second period as the Hawks soared to the 24-point win. Despite Rhys Martin not leaving the hotel in Auckland due to a stomach virus, all nine Hawks players stepped up. Jarrad Weeks was the star off the bench with 13 points and four assists but Cody Ellis contributed eight points and six rebounds, and Larry Davidson seven points. New Zealand had won its opening eight games at home this season, but it wasn’t the Breakers' night on Sunday despite 25 points from Corey Webster. Tai Wesley chipped in with 20, Tom Abercrombie 12 and Mika Vukona seven to go with seven rebounds. Abercrombie was disappointed with the performance from the Breakers but hopes they learn quickly ahead of two quick-fire road games post-Christmas against Sydney and Cairns. "It was just a disappointing effort from the outset really. We came out on the back foot and that continued throughout the game. We tried our best to claw back into it but the effort wasn’t there for the most part," Abercrombie said. "Firstly we've got to learn from this. It was a really disappointing effort from us and we have to come back better. We play straight after Christmas and there's no excuses for us. We have to go on the road to play a couple of tough teams. We have to make sure we're ready for that challenge." The game was the last for the Hawks until New Year's Eve when they take on the Townsville Crocodiles at The Swamp while the Breakers take on the Sydney Kings on Sunday at Sydney Olympic Sports Centre. ILLAWARRA HAWKS 107 (Penney 27, Lisch 24, Ogilvy 18) NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 83 (Webster 25, Wesley 20, Abercrombie 12) BOX SCORE 
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