The Ringwood Hawks have grabbed the ascendancy in their BigV State Championship Semi Finals series against the McKinnon Cougars thanks to a big road win in Game one on Sunday.
This series was always going to be a big test for the Hawks and 5 minutes into the game, the Cougars looked like they had the answer to the Hawks powerful offense. The Hawks looked rushed as the Cougars played a zone and tried to use their length to trouble the Hawks shooters. In the first half, it was mission accomplished as McKinnon grabbed the early lead.
The Hawks were scoring well with Matt Fennell (33 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists), Scottie Stone (18 points) and Jacob Gibson (24 points), but could not slow down the Cougars who scored at will. A three pointer with 1 second left in the first half by the Cougars Deng Deng pushed the Cougars half time lead to 7 and had the Hawks Coaching staff scratching their heads with plenty of work to do.
“We felt like we needed to shake things up at the half, so we did.” Hawks Head Coach Ken Harrington said.
“We sent Nathan Truman out after half time with the job of providing some intensity and that’s the time when we got back in the game mentally.”
It took just the first 2 minutes of the third quarter for the Hawks to erase the 7 point deficit. Shaun Clarke (16 points and 7 rebounds) and Fennell cashed in with some big baskets.The game was suddenly up for grabs.
At three quarter time the Hawks had a 3 point lead, but never looked like running away with an easy win. However any time that the Cougars looked like edging in front, the Hawks looked to Fennell who was simply amazing.
In the last two minutes of the game with the Cougars looking to make a final run, it was Fennell who stepped up nailing a 2 pointer and then closing down the Cougars with a massive three pointer. Fennell was simply the difference in this game.
“I actually felt a little sick this morning.” Fennell said.
“But when the game started the focus changed and we found a way. But we still have plenty of work to do next weekend.”
There is still plenty of work for the Hawks who have game two and three (if required) next weekend. Both teams now have 6 days to make adjustments and the Hawks will have a light week of training to keep themselves in best possible shape for a big weekend.
“Always plenty of sore spots after a tough and physical game like that.” Harrington said.
“We will focus on rest this week and getting our shooters going cause next week will be another battle we have to be ready for.”
Game two is at the Rings on Saturday night at 6.30pmtip off.
SEMI-FINAL Game one
RINGWOOD HAWKS 100 (Fennell 33, Gibson 24, Stone 18, Clarke 16, Latham 4, Osborne 3, Snow 2) defeated
McKINNON COUGARS 95 (Deng 28, Maybank 20, Tomada 17, Platenik 16) at GESAC (McKinnon).
SEMI FINAL Game two
Saturday 18th August
6.30pm Tip off at The Rings, Ringwood.
Last Modified on 12/08/2018 18:57