The Taylor Hawke's Bay Hawks have used a big second half to get past the Southland Sharks 107-90 in Taradale on Thursday night.
Both teams combined for seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and there was nothing to separate them after 10 minutes tied at 29.
Mojave King came out hot with 11 points for the Sharks. The confidence he plays with for a teenager continues to impress, and tonight that was on full display as he showed no hesitation on his perimeter shot. King's athleticism enables him to get to the rim and his improving jump shot makes him a tough guard for anyone in the league. He finished with 29 points, five rebounds and four assists on 11-of-23 shooting from the field and 7-of-14 from three.
The Sharks took a 51-50 lead into halftime thanks to some solid shooting (60% FG) and clamping down on the Hawks' 3-point conversions, holding them to 4-of-14 from distance in the half after their hot start.
Hyrum Harris was able to make inroads inside with 15 first half points, but the Hawks struggled to combat the length of Romaro Gill in the paint. The 7-foot-2 Jamaican centre had four blocks in the first half, but his game was abruptly cut short when he left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury - he appeared to turn his left ankle when landing after an attempted block.
The Hawks came out in the second half on a 15-3 run to grab an 11-point lead midway through the quarter. The Sharks would bite back temporarily but the Hawks had it going offensively and dropped 36 points in the third quarter to the Sharks' 26. All of the Hawks' starters were getting it done, as well as veteran Jarrod Kenny off the bench who made some beautiful passes and key shots.
Hawke's Bay's big third quarter proved to be the difference in this one and they closed it out in the fourth. Jordan Hunt was fantastic for the home side with 32 points and five rebounds on 12-of-19 shooting from the field and 4-of-9 from distance.
The Sharks are reeling as they drop to 2-6 on the season. There isn't a timeline for the return of coach Rob Beveridge but the team is hopeful he is back for the next round. The status of centre Romaro Gill will be something to keep an eye on, too.
SCORE: Hawks 107, Sharks 92
Hawks: Hunt 32 PTS, 5 REB | Rusbatch 19 PTS, 7 REB | Agee 13 PTS, 10 REB | Harris 19 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST | Raukawa 11 PTS, 3 3PM
Sharks: King 29 PTS, 7 3PM | Kelman-Poto 24 PTS, 11-12 FG | Shepard III 18 PTS, 11 REB
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Jordan Hunt (Hawks) - 10 votes
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) - 7 votes
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) - 7 votes
Mojave King (Sharks) - 4 votes
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) - 2 votes
Hawks – June 18 vs. Taranaki Airs
Sharks – June 11 @ Wellington Saints