The Hawks set the standard in the first quarter, burying shots from both inside and outside the arc to push themselves out to an early 32-24 lead.
The foot stayed on the gas for the visitors at the start of the second. Ethan Rusbatch continued to show why he’s one of the sharpest shooters in the Sal’s NBL with 22 points from downtown and Brandon Bowman was again a force to be reckoned with on both ends. The Rangers inability to keep up with the Hawks has them trail 64-49 at the break.
Similar to many third quarters across all games this year, both teams were more disciplined in their play after the main break. The reduction of turnovers and poor defensive reads made it hard for the hosts to cut into the Hawks lead and saw them go into the fourth still down 90-69.
A 21-point deficit was always going to be a challenge for the Rangers, but Tim Quarterman and refused to lay down and made the Hawks work for the win. The hosts won the quarter 28-17 and Quarterman came close to claiming a 50pt notch, falling just one basket short on 48pts. The game finished 117-107 in the Hawks favour.
Supercity Rangers 107 lost to Hawke's Bay Hawks 117
Rangers - Quarterman 48pts & 11rbs, Jois 20pts, Egwu 19pts.
Hawks - Rusbatch 35pts, Bowman 29pts, Singler 24pts.
Stats That Matter - another 14 triples for the Hawks as they continued their love of long-range shots, but more impressively was a 25-assist haul.
TAB MVP Votes - Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) 10, Tim Quarterman (Rangers) 8, Brandon Bowman (Hawks) 6, EJ Singler (Hawks) 4, Venky Jois (Rangers) 2.