• Taylor Hawks put on a show in last home game of season

Taylor Hawks put on a show in last home game of season

Yesterday the Taylor Hawks played the Canterbury Rams in their last home game of the season, winning the game 77-71.

However, reading the score line alone does not give this game any justice.

It was phenomenal to watch, even for the neutrals. Tales of discrepancies, impeccable shooting, foul play, and one epic finish that created an electrifying atmosphere all played a part in a perfect sending off before their semi-finals game on the 20th of July.

The first quarter started slowly, both teams were still finding their feet, or hands rather. After a few nervy minutes the first three pointer went in. The game immediately began to flare up.

Not long after, the Rams missed a few free throws, which meant the deadly combination of the commentator and DJ managed to get into the action, turning the flairs into wildfire.

It was in full swing now and the Taylor Hawks were loving it. We finished the quarter with 26 points to their 18.

However, Canterbury Rams are in the semi-finals for a reason, and wouldn't allow the second quarter to follow suit. Utilising some very swift passing play they started to get on top.

Quick movement, quick passes, and some quick shooting seemed too much for the Hawks to handle (for now at least). This, along with a lot of unsuccessful perimeter shooting, led the Hawks to a 38-41 deficit, losing the quarter 12-23.

Kahurangi Dance Company played their part with an excellent half time display.

A third quarter saw an abundance of fouls being given which slowed the game right down, but luckily for us, they actually increased the tension on the court.

Tempers began to flair resulting in chairs being kicked, shouts from the benches and even bickering among teammates. Good defence from both teams meant for a relatively low scoring quarter, finishing 19-14, putting the Taylor Hawks in front with a 57-55 score line.

And then the final quarter arrived.  Captain Jarrod Kenny continued his form as he added few more threes that added to his match high of 21 points. However, the Rams kept coming back with their own magic, grabbing a 67-64 lead over the Hawks with four minutes to go.

Moments of madness followed. Kenny dropped a three from deep to tie the game at 67-67. Immediately after, American import Bowman followed this up by weaving between three players and then smashing the ball into the net with an athletic dunk.

He didn’t stop there though, the Rams were quickly up the other end of the court about to score, that was until Bowman came back and denied them in emphatic fashion, slapping the ball away. It was perhaps the most epic 15 seconds of basketball I had ever watched. The Pettigrew Green Arena exploded. Bartlett later prolonged the explosion with another three from the top of the D. Seeing the abundance of communal happiness in the stands was heart-warming. This is what sport is about. The game came to a close with Rusbatch calmly bouncing the ball in the same spot. It finished. 77-71 to Hawks.

Joe, who was at his first Taylor Hawks game, said this was one of his “Hawkes Bay highlights” since moving here 15 months ago from the States. And now I think about, it’s one of mines as well.

Now we look forward to their away game against the Southern Huskies in Tasmania, where we can expect to see players with limited minutes showcase their skills. Afterwards, it’s crunch time, as the semi-finals begin. We wish them the best of luck.