Two of the title favourites in the Sal's NBL went toe to toe in an epic encounter at TSB Arena on Sunday afternoon with the Wellington Saints pulling away in overtime over the Hawke's Bay Hawks. The two met just a round ago with the Hawks coming away with the win in Napier, and Sunday's game was played with playoff intensity, despite no fans being present sue to the COVID-19 alert levels in the capital city.
The Saints pulled away to a 15 point lead in the second quarter, as Dion Prewster took it to the Hawks, driving determinedly and finishing through contact with aplomb. The third term however belonged to the Hawks. Hyrum Harris put in one of the best defensive displays of the season, finishing with 10 steals, and leading the offense too.
The fourth quarter saw more lead changes than players on the court, as both teams had to to flirt with foul trouble. It looked done and dusted for the Hawks when they defended an inbounds play well with 8 seconds to go and a 3 point lead, but Tohi Smith-Milner got his mitts on the ball and sunk an off balance 3 pointer to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, it was Taane Samuel's time to shine. Back to back big time buckets lead his team to a thrilling win. These two teams could very well meet again come the final four.
Wellington Saints 119 - 112 Hawke's Bay Hawks - BOXSCORE
Saints: Taane Samuel 33pts, Dion Prewster 24pts 8rbs 9 ast, Tohi Smith-Milner 21pts 10rbs
Hawks: Hyrum Harris 16pts 8rbs 10stl 5ast, Ethan Rusbatch 27pts, Jarrod Kenny 18pts
Stuff MVP Votes
Dion Prewster (Saints) 10pts
Taane Samuel (Saints) 6pts
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) 6pts
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) 5pts
Jarrod Kenny (Hawks) 3pts
Tohi Smith-Milner 1pt
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)