Hawks edge Pigs 90-89 for NBL third spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks edge Pigs 90-89 for NBL third spot

04/02/2006 10:35:28 PM Comments (0)

The Wollongong Hawks limped into the playoffs with plenty to worry about despite defeating West Sydney 90-89 at the Sandpit.

The Hawks' victory, and Adelaide's loss to Brisbane, handed Wollongong third place, but it will be small joy if they produce a similar performance come Friday night.

Wollongong trailed last-placed Razorbacks for the majority of the game, then failed to put them away in the fourth quarter when fine-tuning for a semi-final should have been the only task.

Adding to Wollongong's problems are injuries to key performers Glen Saville and Adam Ballinger.

Saville sat out another game with deep bone bruising to his knee and is in grave danger of missing the play-offs altogether.

Ballinger re-injured the ankle he had been carrying for two weeks, limping off the court late in the third quarter and exposing Wollongong's fragile frontline.

West Sydney took control of the first quarter after just two minutes and never looked back on their way to a 32-23 quarter-time lead.

After scoring just 59 points against the Hawks three weeks ago, the Razorbacks' shooting touch was hot in the opener, connecting on 68 per cent of their shots to Wollongong's 38 per cent.

It was a completely different story in the second quarter as West Sydney turned ice cold, hitting just five of its 21 shots and opening the door for Wollongong's fightback that saw the Pigs trail 46-43 at the half.

It took five and a half minutes of the third quarter to hit their first lead since the score was 2-0, with Matt Campbell's three-pointer sparking the home team.

Wollongong's long range shooting finally found its mark and they hit another four threes to lead 76-70 going into the last.

The game came right down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter, with West Sydney up 88-85 with just 70 seconds to play.

Hawks superstar Cortez Groves scored five straight points in 30 seconds to put them up by two.

He quickly became the villain, inexplicably turning the ball with just seven seconds to give West Sydney a final chance.

With no time left on the clock Graeme Dann was fouled and went to the line with a chance to send the game into overtime.

His first shot went sweetly into the basket, but his second agonisingly bounced off the back of the ring, handing the Hawks a heart-stopper.

Groves top-scored for Wollongong with 25, while adding seven assists and a phenomenal six blocks to his display, but the key contribution came from centre Tony Rampton.

Rampton was a tower of strength inside for the Hawks, collecting 21 points and 16 rebounds as he dominated the battle of the big men.

Scott McGregor and Cam Rigby did their best to keep West Sydney firing throughout the night, hitting 17 points apiece.

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