Hawks 2 tipped the first game of the season off away at Hemmel with an 8 strong squad and the rookie appearances of Ernesto (6), Demario (14) and Peta (11) with Mubbasher (7), Rimas(12) , Guli (8), Shab (13) and Russ (4) rounding off the squad with Russ also debuting with his first Senior team coaching appearance.
The first quarter started off with wolves claiming possession of the ball however that was the only time the wolves were in control of the game as the hawks beat them to the scorebook with a fast 2 pointer from Rimas . The wolves were quick on the foul sheet and managed to fill all 4 columns by the third minute which was the only stat they were consistent with in every quarter. Although the Hawks also fell into foul trouble in the latter stages of the quarters but not conceding any 5th foul penalty shots. Shab shot the lights out in the first quarter putting 4 of his 6 3-pointers in the first quarter. Hawks up 26-15 in the first quarter.
The first half allowed the hawks to stay on top and in control of the game never losing the lead despite levelling scores at one point in the early stage of the first quarter. The team played excellently on both ends of the court fighting for the rebounds on the defensive end and making plays in the key. Defensively working as a unit communicating screens and calling for rebounds which allowed them to maintain their advantage over the Wolves extending their lead by 2 in that quarter to finish the first half at 44-31. Shooting performances by Russ and rookie Demario allowed the hawks to carry momentum into the second half.
The second half was underway however the hawks eased off the pressure slightly but soon were back on applying pressure after a time out talk with coach Russ re-stating the main team objectives. Russ showed a brilliant performance on both ends of the court hitting vital shots but more importantly, never giving up defensive rebounds. A strong 3 in the centre with Russ, Guli and Rimas fought for a majority of the rebounds preventing the opposition from getting many second chances. Peta had a great debut putting himself in great positions to defend and help in the middle and using his pace to push the defence with fast breaks to receive passes over the top from our quarterback Shab. The third quarter ended with the hawks neither increasing or decreasing their advantage with a score of 55-42.
The final quarter required the team to stay on top of the game and not getting complacent. The opposition again were fast into foul trouble, especially under the basket with their biggest player which allowed up to exploit matchups against him in the key primarily with Rimas and Guli. Despite playing well in the game, making good decisions and moving well, Ernesto picked up a foul for shouting aggressively whilst an opposing player was taking a shot. I can only assume Ernesto was in dismay with his own efforts but we may never know his true intentions. Mubbasher finally made a 3-pointer to put the hawks safely away putting the Niaz duo on a combined effort of 7made 3 pointers. As we entered the closing stages of the game, tactically the opposition were forced into an isolation play in the key with Rimas allowing him many trips to the foul line and consolidating the game victory with a final score of 71-56 to start the season with a pink sheet and great momentum heading into their bleachers-out home game 2 days after. A fantastic result and a great effort from all 8 players but a special mention to all of the rookies for making their debuts with the hawks a win. Especially coach Ernesto proving all who say “if you can’t play, coach” wrong
Written by:- M.Niaz