The Taylor Hawke's Bay Hawks have taken down the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams 73-71 in a thrilling encounter on Thursday night.
It was a scrappy first quarter which saw the Hawks take a two-point edge after two minutes. The Hawks started to string together buckets over the final few minutes of the first with everyone contributing. Rams forward Max Darling started strong with seven points and four boards - the Hawks offering little resistance to his strength inside. Darling has been effective for the Rams of late and he was good again in this one, finishing with 18 points and seven boards before fouling out late in the fourth.
The Rams clamped down defensively in the second quarter and made life difficult for the Hawks. Canterbury scored just 17 points, but they held the Hawks to 11 points and it took Hawke's Bay almost seven minutes to get their second bucket of the quarter. A 9-3 run to close the half helped keep the Hawks within four at the half.
Points were hard to come by again in the third quarter. The Rams looked to have created some separation but the Hawks closed the quarter on a 6-0 run to tie it at 52 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair with lead changes galore, so it was only fitting that it came down to the final shot of the game. Hawks head coach Mick Downer drew up an alley-oop play intended for Tajuan Agee, but instead it turned into a fadeaway baseline jumper that new import Agee made no mistake on. He capped his first Sal's NBL game in style with a thrilling buzzer beater to give the Hawks and Mick Downer a big win in Christchurch.
SCORE: Rams 71, Hawks 73
Rams: Darling 18 PTS, 7 REB | Britt 17 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST | Maker 11 PTS, 9 REB
Hawks: Hunt 21 PTS, 7 REB, 5 STL, 2 BLK | Rusbatch 19 PTS, 10 REB | Harris 10 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Jordan Hunt (Hawks) - 10 votes
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) - 8 votes
Max Darling (Rams) - 5 votes
Taylor Britt (Rams) - 5 votes
Tajuan Agee (Hawks) - 1 vote
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) - 1 vote
Rams - Jun 3 vs. Wellington Saints
Hawks - May 28 @ Nelson Giants
Round 5 Sal's NBL Schedule