Flashback Friday this week takes us back to Friday 17th of April 1998, when the Illawarra Hawks took on the Townsville Crocodiles at the Snakepit in a game which featured another one of our strong scoring imports. The 1998 season was the final season our home games were being played in the historic gym before moving to the WIN Entertainment Centre for the new league format.
Playing against a solid Townsville team, who featured imports Derek Rucker and Ray Owes plus the sweet shooting Simon Kerle, your Hawks got off to a strong 36-19 1st quarter lead and never looked back running away with a 9 point victory, winning the game 102-93.
While Rucker (21 points), Owes (21) and Kerle (17) made up the majority of Townsville’s points, the Hawks had an even spread of scorers with 6 players registering double figures. They included import Elliot Hatcher (18), Glen Saville (16), Eric Cooks (15), Mark Dalton (12) and Mat Campbell (10). As was often the case that season, Clayton Ritter was our leading scorer for the game with 23 points.
Ritter was a dynamic scorer who had a great mix of both a sweet shooting stroke and a strong post presence. Following a four year collegiate career at James Madison University, Ritter joined the Hawks in the 1997 NBL season. He went on to play 89 games for Illawarra where he averaged 21.83 points per game (shooting over 47% from the field), and 7.10 rebounds per game.
Ritter continued on to play the 1998/99 season with the Hawks before moving to the Canberra Cannons for the 99/00 season. Although never achieving any individual league wide accolades, he is a multiple winner of the club MVP award further highlighting his dominance for our team.