Fronting for their third game in four days, the Southern Huskies looked a little fresher after a day off as they travelled to Hawke's Bay to take on the Taylor Hawks.
In a hot start, both teams traded baskets early in an up-tempo opening quarter, but a 19-0 run in the second term by the Hawks soon forced the visiting Huskies into a re-think.
With Ethan Rusbatch, Shaquille Thomas and EJ Singler all getting on top, the Hawks could do no wrong. Dropping baskets from range at a nearly 45% clip, the Hawks looked capable of blowing the game right out when they went to the half leading 57-35.
Needing something special, the Huskies returned from the main break with a focus of putting the ball in the hands of Jalen Billups and the powerful forward responded with a number of strong baskets, capably backed by dashing guard Tre Nichols. The re-charged Huskies delivered a 36-21 third period to bring the gap bask to just 7-points.
In an entertaining last quarter the Hawks weathered the storm by a Huskies team throwing everything at them in the hope they would head home with two wins from three games. Billups and Nichols continued to push hard, while Lachlan Cummings delivered two huge bombs from the corner to put the pressure on the Hawks.
Needing to respond, Rusbatch and Singler showed their class once more with some huge baskets to break the spirits of the Huskies. The Hawks finally cementing the win in the final minute of play.
Tellingly, the Hawks drained 17 triples and enjoyed 27 assists, highlighting the speed at which the game was played.
Rusbatch continued his hot start to the season with another seven triples, while Shaquille Thomas enjoyed his first extended run with the Sal's Pizza MVP award.
Hawke's Bay Hawks 105 defeated Southern Huskies 95
Hawks - Ethan Rusbatch 33pts & 7 treys, EJ Singler 22pts, Shaquille Thomas 22pts & 10rbs.
Huskies - Jalen Billups 32pts & 15rbs, Tre Nichols 28pts.