The Taylor Hawke’s Bay Hawks, led by a sublime Derone Raukawa performance, have piled the misery on the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks at Pettigrew Green Arena tonight. The Sharks were already nursing a bloody nose from a loss to the Saints 24 hours prior, and Raukawa bopped them on the schnoz early in this one, racing out to 9 points in the opening two minutes.
The Sharks recouped well in the first though, recovering from a 13-4 deficit to finish the quarter just 2 points down, thanks mainly to a red-hot Josh Cunningham streak.
Cunningham was absent for most of the third quarter, and the Hawks capitalised. Bartlett was hot off the bench, missing just one shot all game, and while Hyrum Harris and Ethan Rusbatch were quiet on the scoresheet, they were influential at both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Jono Janssen was vacuuming up rebounds for the Hawks who led by sixteen at three quarter time.
The Sharks, through Cunningham and Alonzo Burton, threatened to make it an interesting finish, clawing within 9 points with just under two minutes to go, but back-to-back mid-range jumpers from the exceptional Raukawa sent the Hawks fans soaring, and sealed the game for the men in pinstripes.
Hawke’s Bay Hawks (85) defeated Southland Sharks (73) - BOXSCORE
Hawks: Derone Raukawa 28pts 5ast, Jono Janssen 11pts 15rbs, Devondrick Walker 16pts
Sharks: Josh Cunningham 21pts 11rbs, Alonzo Burton 14pts, Dom Kelman-Poto 14pts 7 rbs
• Derone Raukawa has picked up where he left off in 2020. No one could slow him down tonight, let alone stop him.
• Josh Cunningham needed a big game, and although it game in a loss, he was impressive tonight in the low block. All while not looking 100%.
• The battle between Dom Kelman-Poto and Hyrum Harris was one to watch tonight. Two players with Tall Blacks aspirations in 2021, the former teammates did not let up in a physical off-ball battle.
Stuff MVP Votes
Derone Raukawa (Hawks-10)
Josh Cunningham (Sharks-6)
Jono Janssen (Hawks-4)
Devondrick Walker (Hawks-3)
Everard Bartlett (Hawks-3)
Hyrum Harris (Hawks-2)
Alonzo Burton (Sharks-1)
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks-1)