Larry Davidson was a unsung hero for the Hawks all weekend.
The final of the Top End Challenge was the top dog versus the under dog. New Zealand will start as favourites through my eyes when the regular season rolls around, but the blue collar boys from the ‘Gong are making believers out of this guy.
The Hawks once again proved their doubters wrong with a solid win over the Breakers, 94-88, to be crowned champions of this NBL preseason tournament.
The first quarter was a tightly contested ten minutes. Larry Davidson of the Hawks continued his good form with seven points for the quarter, while Kiwi youngster Tom Abercrombie led the Breakers with six.
The Hawks started to hit their straps in the second quarter as they extended the lead to thirteen before the Breakers reeled it back to seven at the main break, 50-43.
Davidson was busy with twelve for the half while new import Tywain McKee slashed his way to ten points.
Scoring machine Kirk Penney was involved more in the quarter and had reached double-figures (10) by the half. Abercrombie remained consistent finishing with 11.
After the break I was sensing the Breakers would turn up the heat and make a game of it. Instead the Hawks continued to utilise their ball movement and spacing which saw them up by as many as 18 in the third term.
Tournament MVP Cameron Tragardh put his stamp on the game during the "championship" quarter where he dropped in sixteen for the period, giving him 20 for the game.
Enter the fourth quarter and the Breakers looked like they were going to snatch a victory right from in front of the Hawks’ face. Breaker import Awvee Storey (quiet weekend) came to life and was beginning to look a little more comfortable with the surroundings, adding six for the quarter.
The Breakers managed to cut the lead to one with 1:16 left in the game and everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting for something from the Breakers. It never came as Penney could not get involved for the Breakers offensively.
The Hawks managed the end of the game very well by getting the ball into McKee's hands.
McKee calmly knocked down four free throws over the last minute to keep the Breakers at bay.
Tragardh finsished with 23 to lead all scorers while he was well supported by McKee's 21 and Larry Davidson’s 16.
For the Breakers Penney was the best with 20 and Abercrombie finished with 16.
- All Tournament Team - James Harvey - Gold Coast Blaze- Corey Willimas - Townsville Crocodiles- Kirk Penney - New Zealand Breakers- Tywain McKee - Wollongong Hawks- Cameron Tragardh (MVP) - Wollongong Hawks
- Wollongong Head Coach Gordie McLeod has his troops believing in the system right now. They were the best team as far as ball movement and unselfish play was concerned.
- Hawk Cameron Tragardh has a nose for the ball on the offensive end. All weekend he was in the right place at the right time.
- Hawks Rhys Martin impressed me with his all round game. Although a small point guard he does a great job on the glass.
- Although there is hype around about New Zeland Breaker Tom Ambercrombie, teammate Corey Webster is a player too.
- Tywain McKee will have people out of their seats during the game.