Game Preview – Hawks vs Rams

It's a showdown that is sure to have a packed Horncastle Arena on the edge of their seat with the home town Canterbury Rams hosting this year's Final 4.

If you take a close look at the keys team stats from across the season, this match-up is one of two very contrasting styles of play, the offensive powerhouse that belongs to the Hawks up against the strangling defence that sits comfortably with the Rams.

Here's what you need to know.



6:30pm tip-off Saturday July 20 at Horncastle Arena, Christchurch.


Available now from just $12 - click HERE.


Live on SKY Sports 4 and Prime Television from 6pm



The evening Semi Final will see hometown favourites the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams taking on on the high-flying Taylor Hawke’s Bay Hawks. These two teams have it made it to the knockout stages thanks to very differing, yet incredibly effective game styles. The Rams are incredibly well coached and have brought a defensive edge to the league that is seldom seen, it is one that is both unified and crippling through a total team buy-in. Canterbury’s ability to put pressure on every shot is a delight to watch and is more than capable of taking them all the way. The Hawks are just a flat-out offensive force, they love to run and push the ball, and never shy away from an open shot, especially from long range where just about everyone can fire from at will. It’s all about defence for the Rams and boy can they put the clamps on, but equally it’s all about running and scoring for the Hawks. All up this makes for a game that will be both entertaining and a mastermind tactical match-up between two very good coaches. As for the key match-ups there are plenty, but the biggest question will be who Isaiah Wilkins will be asked to defend – Brandon Bowman or EJ Singler? This clash alone could be the deciding factor. Emmett Naar up against Jarrod Kenny is another ripper, while Ethan Rusbatch and Cam Gliddon can expect some close checking by their respective checker. By keeping teams honest from three it will open up the floor for timely cuts, something both teams do very well. You have to pick your poison when taking on the Hawks, all of which can be fatal, but don’t discount the offensive ability of the Rams either. All up this will be a gripping showdown and no doubt the winners of the earlier Semi Final will be watching on closely. The one last factor, and it’s a big one, what advantage will the home crowd bring for the Rams? It could prove pivotal.



Starting 5

6. Jarrod Kenny

13. Dion Prewster

12. Ethan Rusbatch

25. EJ Singler

15. Brandon Bowman


3. Nick Fee

5. Everard Bartlett

27. Jamal Mikaio

7. Darryl Jones

19. Dominic McGovan

18. Clifton Bush III


Coach: Zico Coronel

Assistant Coach: Morgan Maskell

Assistant Coach: Rob Hartley

Team Manager: Jordan Wise

Assistant Manager: James Levings

Physio: Colin Tutchen


From the Coach - Zico Coronel

Each and every individual, practice or game, we set out to collectively play better basketball than we ever have before. This week will be no exception. If we’re to come close to our potential as a team and also to beat the Rams it will require a better performance than last week’s. The Rams are to be commended for the outstanding job they’ve done this season and I’m sure the Final Four is going to be a tremendous event. We’re excited to be a part of it!



Starting 5

4. Emmett Naar

3. Cam Gliddon

25. Tony Tolovae

17. Isaiah Wilkins

44. Mike Karena


5. Taylor Britt

10. Sam Smith

1. Luke Aston

9. Jonathan Janssen

24. Alex Talma

30. Toby Gillooly

45. Brent Fisher


Coach: Mick Downer

Assistant Coach: Terry Brunnel

Assistant Coach: Piet Van Hasselt

Team Manager: Raewyn Britt


From the Coach - Mick Downer

It’s arrived and we are ready to go. Four teams, everyone without a win or loss in the post season and strong beliefs they’ll be cutting down the nets on Sunday night at Horncastle. Working back from the obvious, that it’s the team that can put the best 80-minutes of basketball will reap the rewards, we lock into our semi-final opponents the Hawks. The game is about angles, timing, spacing, skill, confidence and a bit of luck. We were good in some areas and below our best in others in our last outing up in Napier. We are looking forward to the rematch tonight. Guarding the 3pt line, particularly the corner 3 is a key, as well as the uptempo “fire-away” mindset the opposition bring. The defensive end has been our staple all season and we must hang our hats on the that end of the floor. This said, running the other direction we need to make the biggest improvement to reap the ultimate rewards. Simple and aggressive is the menu. The fans are in for an outstanding weekend, get involved and live the emotion of it all. It should be a fun ride.




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