Skipper Purser backs Hawks to only keep improving

THE Perry Lakes Hawks men's team have now won three straight matches in the SBL, beaten the defending champions and captain Ben Purser feels the team will only keep getting better the longer 2014 goes on.

Purser is in his sixth season in the SBL having now played 130 matches and this Perry Lakes team of 2014 is now undisputedly his to be the leader of.

The 24-year-old can feel aggrieved to not be filling out an NBL roster still after his successful stint with the Perth Wildcats as a development player where in his time on the court he showed he had the tools to contribute, but he continues to be one of the very best all-round players in the SBL.

It was a fascinating year for the Hawks in 2013 with Shawn Dennis departing as coach to take up a job with the Townsville Crocodiles leaving his assistant at Perry Lakes Charles Nix to take over.

The Hawks still managed to finish in second spot with an 18-8 record on the season before losing to the Joondalup Wolves in the semi finals.

Now since then, the Hawks have lost Adrian Majstrovich and Michael Lay, their two top-scorers for 2014 but added Josh Garlepp and Justin Cecil to the mix.

Both have started the year well with Garlepp averaging 15.6 and 6.2 boards a game and Cecil 27.0 points and 8.3 rebounds after missing the opening two matches.

The Hawks also don’t have a genuine point guard with Purser, Rob Cassir and Ben Dixon so far sharing those duties and it has worked out quite well with Perry Lakes sitting on a 3-3 record having now won three straight matches after losing the opening three.

"It has been a fairly big adjustment. Obviously Mike had the ball in his hand a lot for us last year and a lot of our offences were run around him especially late clock situations," Purser said.

"Both Benny and Rob have been doing a great job splitting the point guard responsibilities and I think they are learning every week. They did start off a little bit rough but every week they are getting better and by the end of the season I'm sure they will be firing on all cylinders."

The Hawks made a real statement last Saturday night at the WA Basketball Centre that they are a team to be reckoned with this season handing the defending champion Lakeside Lightning their first loss of the season with Cecil coming up huge at both ends.

"They are a quality side obviously Lakeside and they have shown that over the last three years, and it's no different this season," he said.

"We just stuck around and were always within about 10 points of them and we had the confidence of seeing out the game based on our fitness and training. Cecil came up huge for us with a couple of big steals, a big dunk and big block. I'm sure he was pretty happy with that."

The Hawks now gear up for an Easter Thursday clash at the WA Basketball Centre with the East Perth Eagles and Purser knows that it won't be easy no matter who ends up lining up for the opposition.

"They are going to be tough again and a lot of that depends on who plays. Drew has been out for the last couple of and Joe missed out on the weekend, but their guard play is exceptional obviously with Kyle playing how he is and Sunday Dech hot off winning a championship with the Wildcats," Purser said.

"Their role players are then so good as well with guys like Austin and Donlagic knowing their role and what they have to do. They are going to be tough."

Article by Chris Pike




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