The Taylor Hawke’s Bay Hawks were made to work for all 48 minutes by the visiting Wellington Saints, but were the happier of the two sides at the final buzzer after winning 88-82.
The match up between the 2019 Sal’s NBL grand finalists was pointed to as the game of the round and it did not disappoint as the game hung in the balance in the dying stages.
Ultimately, it was Devondrick Walker who was the hero for the hosts. His triple with 17 clicks left on clock put them up 86-82 and was huge in propelling them to victory, but the game was far from won at that point.
The Saints first opportunity to negate said score was blown on a five-second call out of the timeout and they were then gifted another chance after Hawks coughed it up only for Dion Prewster’s lay up to draw the back iron.
Derone Raukawa would go on to ice the game from the charity stripe, leaving the Saints with their second blemish on their 2021 record.
Early in piece, it was the Hawks running up the numbers thanks to contributions from all five starters. That combined with the visitors going 4/15 to start the game had them 23-12 to the good.
Back-to-back triples out of the break for the Saints helped wrestle momentum back in their direction, but the hosts did well to repel any of their continuous onslaughts for most of the quarter.
Late scores from Kerwin Roach and Leon Henry whittled it to five at the extended interval, taking a decent chunk of air out of the building at a crucial passage.
The tight tussle rolled straight over to the second half with the Saints landing blows and the Hawks replying in kind.
Hawke’s Bay Hawks 88 defeated Wellington Saints 82 - BOXSCORE
Hawks: Devondrick Walker (20pts & 4rbs), Hyrum Harris (18pts & 7rbs), Rhys Vague (15pts & 3rbs.
Saints: Tohi Smith-Milner (19pts & 7rbs), Kerwin Roach Jnr (18pts, 6rbs & 5ast), Leon Henry (17pts & 7rbs).
Stuff MVP Votes
Devondrick Walker (Hawks) 9
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) 8
Tohi Smith-Milner (Saints) 7
Leon Henry (Saints) 2
Rhys Vague (Hawks) 2
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) 1
Kerwin Roach (Saints) 1
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)