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Hawks soar into NBL finals with sweep of Wildcats

16 Feb
2 mins read
The Hawks are playoff-bound after blowing out Perth 108-92 in front of a packed house at the WIN Enterainment Centre on Thursday night, their third win over the Wildcats this season punching their post-season ticket.

The Hawks had already beaten the Wildcats twice this season including doing a standout defensive job on Bryce Cotton who is a lock for a fourth NBL MVP award this Monday.

Cotton had a much bigger impact at WIN Entertainment Centre this time around, but the Wildcats could do little to curtail the energy the Hawks were playing with.

It was a night of celebration for the Hawks as they improve to a 12-6 record since Tatum was installed as interim coach.

They can guarantee fourth place by beating Melbourne United on Sunday. Even if they lose, the New Zealand Breakers need to beat both Brisbane and Adelaide to knock them to fifth.

Coach Tatum was understandably on a high afterwards.

"I couldn’t imagine us being at this spot when I was asked to take over by management in late November," he said.

"Being here right now and being the head coach leading these guys into the playoffs, is an unbelievable feeling."

The energy of Illawarra was instrumental in the eventual 16-point win and that was highlighted with them collecting 57 rebounds to 35 including 20 at the offensive end for 24 second chance points.

They then did well getting to the foul line 35 times even if they only made 21 while Gary Clark continued his outstanding form that has him right in the hunt for the All-First Team. He finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

He had plenty of help too with Tyler Harvey finishing with 16 points, Froling 16 points and five rebounds, Justin Robinson 11 points and five assists, and Davo Hickey 10 points.

Hickey's contribution was immense as his tenacious approach, and ability find gaps in the Perth defence, sending the home crowd into raptures.

The Hawks head to Melbourne to face United at John Cain Arena on Sunday to finish the NBL24 regular season.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 20

ILLAWARRA HAWKS 108 (Clark 26, Harvey 16, Froling 16) 

PERTH WILDCATS 92 (Cotton 20, Harris 15, Usher 12)

BOX SCORE

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