Ethan Rusbatch and Rhys Vague lead the way as the Taylor Hawks unleashed a barrage of three pointers on the Go Media Otago Nuggets on Saturday night at Pettigrew Green Arena in Napier. A lot of eyes pre game were on the Nuggets' Sam Timmins who was coming off a triple double two nights prior, but it was the Hawks' Rusbatch who stole the show early, finishing the first half with 26 points including eight 3-pointers. The Tall Blacks sharpshooter was unfazed by the defence as he lit it up from beyond the arc, ably assisted by import Rhys Vague who missed just one shot all night.
Trailing 56-40 at half time the Nuggets had been kept at arms length for two quarters, before the Hawks made it wings length in the third and fourth. Rusbatch added to his stupendous first half, while Vague continued to be locked in. The Hawks shooting more threes than twos and look set to take home $500 at the end of round 7 thanks to the And1 Splash for Cash initiative.
Whether it was fatigue from the Nuggets, smart defence from the Hawks, or a bit of both, it likely didn't matter. With shooting like that, the Hawks are going to be tough team to stop when they are dialled in.
Hawke's Bay Hawks (103) bead Otago Nuggets (73) - BOXSCORE
Hawks: Ethan Rusbatch (36pts, 9-15 3pt, 4stl), Rhys Vague (25pts, 9-10 fg, 7-8 3pt)
Nuggets: Sam Timmins (15pts, 9rbs, 3stl, 3blk), Isaiah Moss (16pts, 7rbs)
Stuff MVP Votes
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) 10pts
Rhys Vague (Hawks) 8tps
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) 4pts
Isaiah Moss (Nuggets) 4pts
Jono Janssen (Hawks) 3pts
Richie Rodger (Nuggets) 1pt
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)