The Ringwood Hawks have moved to within just one win of what would be an historic Big V State Championship after an inspiring effort by a veteran and a great team performance on Sunday.
The best of three Grand Final series kicked off at Waverley with the Hawks fully aware of the inform Falcons and their ability to shoot from the perimeter. They also received a gentle reminder early in the first quarter as Waverley tried to grab an early lead with a couple of long bombs. The Hawks were clearly switched on though with Matt Fennell and Matt Snowball dominating the game and it was the Hawks who grabbed an 8 points lead in the physical first quarter.
The defensive focus was a huge key for the Hawks who guarded the Falcons well, but also scored freely with Mike McCahey (22 points and 8 rebounds) and Jacob Gibson (18 points and 5 rebounds) leading the way. Ringwood’s lead slowly started to grow as did the game's intensity, but it was veteran Snowball (19 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists) who was simply amazing and kept the Hawks on the right track. By half time the Hawks had banked a 16 point lead and looked like comfortable winners.
“For a guy who is closing in on playing 400 games, Snowy’s first half performance was beyond belief.” Hawks Coach Ken Harrington said.
“When he plays with that kind of commitment, it always feels like we are in good shape.”
The third quarter saw the high scoring game slow down a little with both teams lifting the physicality. Shaun Clarke, Trevor Latham and Fennell found some scoring opportunities and despite a few hiccups it was still a 15 point Hawks lead at 3 quarter time.
Being a team with great veteran leaders, the Hawks dug deep early in the final quarter ready to put the Falcons away. McCahey and Nathan Truman both nailed some big baskets and the lead blew out to 20 points. Just as it looked like the game was going to filter out to an easy Ringwood win, the Falcons caught fire and came roaring back in to the game.
Waverley rolled the dice and managed to cause the Hawks to turn the ball over with some aggressive on ball tactics. They then threw a spanner in the works by nailing 4 straight three pointers. The Hawks missed a few foul shots and with one minute left the lead was only 6 points. Shaun Clarke had seen enough though and stepped up to put the game beyond Waverley with a nice post move.
“We had a lot of guys step up today and do their job.” Matt Snowball said.
“And we are all going to need to do our job next Saturday night, it takes two wins to finish this, not just one.”
Game two will be back at the friendly surround of the Rings and the Hawks will make a few adjustments during the week in the hope of closing out the Championship in straight games. Game two will tip off at 6pm on Saturday night and Game three will be Sunday at 1pm if required.
RINGWOOD HAWKS 103 (McCahey 22, Snowball 19, Gibson 18, Fennell 16, Clarke 13, Latham 6, Osborne 5, Truman 4) defeated WAVERLEY FALCONS 93 (Arkell 24, Simmons 23, Reardon 20) at Waverley Stadium.
NEXT SATURDAY 6pm GAME 2
Ringwood V Waverley
The Rings Stadium
Tickets at the Door
(Game 3 Sunday 1pm if required)
Last Modified on 21/12/2017 16:59