Ringwood hosts the Southern Sabres in NBL1 Round 7 action on Saturday 18 May.
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The Ringwood Hawks need look no further than a horrible first half as the reason they fell to the NBL1 ladder leading Kilsyth Cobras on Sunday at the Rings.
The Cobras are a team stacked with NBL talent at every position and early in the game put on a shooting show for the sellout crowd at Ringwood. Whilst the Cobras could not miss, the Hawks could not hit water if they fell out of a boat and the lead started to grow and grow.
At half time the Hawks looked at the scoreboard and it was not a pretty sight, trailing by 26 points.
“We just were not competing, we reactive and started to question ourselves.” Hawks Assistant Coach Damien Smith said.
“At half time we just laid it out and said you guys need to actually stand up and fight.”
To the delight of the Hawks fans, the intensity went up and the home team started strongly in the third quarter. A quick 8 to 0 run had the Cobras calling a time out, but the Hawks kept plugging away. Joey Miller (29 points) and Matt Fennell (21 points and 16 rebounds) continually pushed their way to the basket and to the amazement of the 500 strong crowd, the Hawks were within just 3 points at three quarter time.
Early in the final quarter the game hung on a knife’s edge, but the Hawks took a hit when import Jacob Gibson (15 points) copped an accidental finger in the eye and was forced to the bench for treatment. Gibson later returned to the court briefly, but had trouble with his vision and took no further part in the game.
There was also a controversial missed call with 3 minutes left in the game when Cobras star Tohi Smith-Milner landed on Hawks Centre Shaun Clarke, also sending Clarke to the bench for attention. The no call nearly caused a riot in the stadium and eventually led to the Hawks receiving a technical foul.
The Cobras then managed to wrestle back some momentum late in the game and closed out the game from the foul line to run out 13 point winners.
“We just did not start the game with the intensity level required when you play teams with this level of talent.” Joey Miller said.
“We worked so hard to get back but just could not get ourselves in front. We dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
The Hawks will have 2 weeks to stew on the loss as they take a week off for Easter. The next game though will be massive with the Eltham Wildcats coming to the Rings for the NBL1 Game of the Week. These two teams had a memorable Grand Final battle last year and this match up never disappoints.
RINGWOOD 79 (Miller 29, Fennell 21, Gibson 15, Sturt 6, Snow 3, Truman 2) Lost to Kilsyth Cobras 92 (Hooley 24, Smith-Milner 17, MacDonald 17) at the Rings.