The history of this Ringwood Hawks dynasty has a new chapter after securing yet another Championship, their third in a row, with a hard fought win in game three of the Grand Final Series against Eltham on Sunday. The memorable series took all three games to decide a winner.
On Saturday night, the game was memorable for more than just the 4 minutes it took for every ticket to be sold for the game. From tip off the game was called incredibly tight, foul after foul was called. The stunned sold out crowd watched as a foul was whistled at an average of every 30 seconds of game play. Five minutes in to the game the Hawks had two starters on the bench in foul trouble but that was just the start.
At quarter time the Hawks trailed by only two points but had an amazing 11 team fouls. With big guns Shaun Clarke, Jacob Gibson and Matt Fennell on the bench, the Wildcats managed to sneak away. Adding injury to illness, Trevor Latham, Nathan Truman and Matt Snowball soon joined their teammates returning to the bench also getting in to foul trouble. The Hawks relied on seldom used Michael Solty, Max Sutton and young Matt Roberts to hold the fort. By half time the Hawks had two very important problems, an 11 point deficit and 22 personal fouls.
“It’s difficult to try and change the way you have played all year and do it at a half time break. Hawks Coach Ken Harrington said,
“But that’s what we tried to do, without much success as it turned out.”
The Hawks battled hard and stayed close enough to hopefully make a run in the third quarter. Jacob Gibson (18 points) and Scottie Stone (15 points) both missed most of the first half with foul trouble but started to influence the game. The Hawks drew within six but a quick 2 and a buzzer beating three pointer by the Wildcats had them with an 11 point lead at three quarter time.
In the last 10 minutes the Hawks again battled back and go to within 4 points but Shaun Clarke, Matt Snowball and Trevor Latham all fouled out and the momentum was lost. The Wildcats closed out the game with a big final 4 minutes and Game three was now a reality.
Sunday had a different feel to it as the Hawks looked more like a team that finished on top and were playing at home. Another sellout crowd saw the Hawks do what they had not done all season, jump off to a fast start.
Grand Final MVP - Matt Fennell
(Peter Hynson Photograph)
Import Scottie Stone (32 points) caught fire in the first quarter nailing 4 three pointers to trigger the Hawks to an early onslaught. What Stone didn’t do, Shaun Clarke did hitting two long bombs of his own and the Rings was rocking. Whilst the Wildcats were trying to figure out a Hawks defensive change of focus, the lead built in a hurry. By quarter time the Hawks led 34 to 16 in probably their best ten minutes of Basketball they have played all year.
The second quarter bought a big change to the game as the Hawks foul count again started to rise and so did the Wildcats challenge. Matt Fennell (20 points and 17 rebounds) and Matt Snowball (8 points and 11 rebounds) kept the Hawks under control but at half time it was back to a nine point lead.
“They are an explosive team and were always going to keep coming at us.” Matt Fennell said.
“We needed to maintain our composure, which was tested time and again.”
As hard as the Wildcats tried to get that lead under nine, the Hawks had all the answers. Jacob Gibson (22 points and 4 assists) hit on two big baskets when the momentum looked like changing as the Hawks lost Clarke with 5 fouls. The tense last few minutes saw the Hawks stand strong thanks to the steady, veteran leadership of Matt Snow and Grand Final MVP Matt Fennell who insured the Wildcats last ditch effort would not be enough.
The Hawks ran out 12 point winners and completed the unbelievable achievement of three straight Championships, a Three-peat.
“Just proud of all the guys, for pushing through injury and adversity.” A jubilant Harrington said straight after the game.
“After Saturday night, it would have been easy for the guys to drop their head but they have huge hearts and they play for each other. As a Coach you cannot ask for any more.”
Players, coaches & supporters celebrate!
(Erin Hynson Photograph)
The latest triumph has stamped the Hawks all over the Big V record books. State Championships is 2016, 2017 and now 2018 sit nicely with the successes in 2012 and 2014. That is 5 Championships in 7 years to Maroondah’s most outstanding sporting group.
GRAND-FINAL Game Two
RINGWOOD HAWKS 77 (Gibson 18, Stone 15, Fennell 12, Snow 8, Osborne 8, Solty 5, Clarke 5, Roberts 4, Latham 2) defeated by ELTHAM WILDCATS 96 (Sykes 24, Waldren 21) at the Rings Ringwood. Crowd 570 (Capacity).
GRAND-FINAL Game Three
RINGWOOD HAWKS 106 (Stone 32, Gibson 22, Fennell 20, Clarke 12, Snowball 8, Latham 7, Osborne 2, Truman 2, Solty 1) defeated ELTHAM WILDCATS 94 (Waldren 23, Aver 16, Canovan 16) at the Rings Ringwood. Crowd 570 (Capacity).
Relive the excitement by watching a replay here.
Last Modified on 03/09/2018 15:42