Hawks fly despite pre-game controversy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks fly despite pre-game controversy

30/12/2005 10:39:19 PM Comments (0)

The Wollongong Hawks have ignored a pre-match controversy over import Adam Ballinger to humiliate Brisbane 136-97 in the NBL fixture at The Sandpit on Friday night.

The home side had been disrupted in the lead up to the game by a controversial NBL ruling banning the American forward from playing.

Ballinger had chosen to turn up for Tuesday's All Star match despite being injured and assisted his team from the bench.

The NBL then decreed he should have been in uniform and formed part of the team and was subsequently suspended from playing in Friday night's match as punishment.

But it counted for little when it came to the game this evening with Cortez Groves showing the way for the Hawks from the outset.

Groves was brilliant in the absence of Ballinger, playing the first three quarters without a break, torching the Bullets with 31 points, nine assists and three steals.

Quiet by his standards in the first quarter, where he still tallied seven points to lead the team, Groves was at the forefront of Wollongong's second and third quarter onslaught.

Nine points in the second was followed by another 15 in the third, earning a well earned rest with a full quarter still to play.

The first four minutes gave no indication of what was to come, with both teams struggling to make anything resembling a good shot.

Once a rhythm started to develop, Wollongong took control to lead 28-22 at their first break.

Scoring the first six points of the second quarter put Wollongong up by 12, and its roll just continued from there.

Mark Bradtke was the only thing standing between the Hawks and a record half time score, single handedly keeping them in the contest with 13 to have the Bullets trailing 64-48 at the break.

The game was well out of the Bullets' reach midway through the third quarter, with Wollongong's 22-7 run to open the term giving them a massive 86-55 advantage.

With the job done by three quarter time, Wollongong Coach Brendan Joyce turned his bench loose on the hapless Bullets, and they repaid the extra court time with a 34-25 quarter to finish the job.

Wollongong put seven players in double figures, with the main support for Groves display coming from Adam Caporn and John Phillip with 18 a piece.

Bradtke finished with 21 for Brisbane, while Bobby Brannen grabbed 16.

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