News

R19 Report: Hawks too classy, eliminate desperate Sixers

Saving their best until last, the Illawarra Hawks turned up the defensive heat in crunch time to claim a 106-95 triumph over the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre. The Hawks held a slender lead late in the third quarter before clicking on all cylinders in the final period and running away with their 17th win of the season, extinguishing Adelaide’s Finals chances in the process. This leaves the 2015/16 Finals puzzle complete, with minor premiers Melbourne United facing New Zealand and second-placed Perth clashing with the Hawks in the semi-finals. After finishing with just six wins last season, Illawarra’s victory also created history as the club’s greatest 12-month turnaround – from wooden spooners last season to a Final’s spot as the League’s most potent offensive unit. Hawks centre AJ Ogilvy tallied team-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds, American Kevin Lisch had 16 points, while guards Jarrad Weeks and Rhys Martin combined for 28 off the bench. Daniel Johnson led Adelaide with 20 points, while NBL leading scorer Jerome Randle’s night ended prematurely when he was ejected after picking up a second unsportsmanlike foul midway through the fourth quarter. Illawarra have locked in a Finals series against Perth, with Game Two scheduled for the Hawks’ home court next Sunday, while Game Three if required will be played in Perth. “Lots of teams have been super physical with us and felt that we’ve crumbled, so we had to match their intensity and physicality and we did a hell of a job to counter what they threw at us,” Beveridge said. “I liked what I saw tonight going into the playoffs.” It took all of 50 seconds for emotions to boil over in this high-stakes encounter, with referees calling unsportsmanlike fouls on Randle, Anthony Petrie and Ogilvy. Feisty Illawarra guard Kevin White scored seven early points to help his side to a 16-6 lead. The Sixers clawed their way back to trail by four before Kirk Penney’s timely three triggered another Hawks surge. But the irrepressible Randle had the final say of the quarter with a spine-tingling 70-foot bomb on the buzzer to cut the home team’s lead to 35-27. Illawarra received a big lift from the bench in the second period with Cody Ellis, Martin and Weeks shouldering the offensive load. The Hawks were well in control as they pushed the margin up to 15, but they endured a dry spell over the final five minutes of the half and held a 54-46 half-time lead. All 10 Illawarra players had scored, led by White’s nine points, while Randle had nine for Adelaide. The Sixers wasted no time asserting themselves in the third quarter, drawing to within a point after three minutes. Hawks coach Rob Beveridge didn’t like what he saw and blasted his players in a time-out. They responded by pushing the lead back up to eight at three-quarter time, thanks largely to the sparkling contributions from Weeks. Adelaide’s revival appeared to run out of steam when Kevin Lisch’s long three gave the Hawks a 14-point buffer with seven minutes remaining. It was as good as over when Ogilvy’s three-point play put Illawarra up by 20. “We let them dictate the tempo in that first quarter and we were playing catch-up,” Sixers coach Joey Wright said. The Sixers knew what the loss to the Hawks meant to their playoff hopes. “We put ourselves in a tricky situation where we had to win our last two road games to make it,” forward Lucas Walker said. “We knew what was on the line.” The Hawks will lock horns with the Perth Wildcats in a best of three semi-final series which tips off next Friday in Perth, while Adelaide are in Perth on Sunday.   ILLAWARRA HAWKS 106 (Ogilvy 17, Lisch 16, Weeks 14) ADELAIDE 36ERS 95 (Johnson 20, Randle 15, Petrie 12) BOX SCORE
FEATURE

Caroline to Bring Energy

20 hours ago

FREE AGENCY

Taipans Complete Roster with Experienced Point Guard

1 day ago

FEATURE

Gliddon Eyes Return to Best

1 day ago

FREE AGENCY

Perth Add NBL1 Standout as DP

2 days ago

NEWS

Report: Makur Maker Signs NBA Deal

3 days ago

NBL23

Analysis: Breakout Candidates

3 days ago

NEWS

Humphries Drawn to United "Prestige"

3 days ago

FREE AGENCY

36ers Add “Extra Edge” to Roster

3 days ago

NEWS

NBL Trading Cards Return With Topps

3 days ago

GAME REPORT

Gaels Overrun Phoenix in OT Thriller

3 days ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates