Hutchison hammers Sharks home in grand final

THERE were plenty of big individual performances in the National Basketball League (NBL)1 grand finals taking place over the weekend, including the heroics of Sutherland Sharks guard Lochlan Hutchison.

The Sharks took on the Maitland Mustangs in the NBL1 East Men’s decider, with both sides coming from a remarkable spot on the ladder. Sutherland made the big dance from fifth, while the Mustangs managed the same feat from seventh spot in the standings. Each team was riding a serious wave of momentum coming in, and after finishing with an identical record, it was hard to pick a favourite in the biggest game of all.

The two sides could not be separated in the first half, with Maitland’s four-point quarter time lead erased by the main break. Defence lifted in the second quarter, and proceedings were tied up heading into the final two quarters. However, the third period saw the Sharks blow the game open, picking apart the opposition’s coverage to pile on 27 points for the quarter and take a nine-point lead into the last. The Mustangs were not done yet, drawing within three points in the opening minutes of the term. Although it remained within striking distance until the dying stages of the match, Maitland’s comeback fell short as Sutherland held on for a three-point win.

The Sharks rallied behind an excellent team performance from their starters, although Hutchison had the biggest impact of any player on the court.

Maitland Mustangs (80) def. by Sutherland Sharks (83)

Lochlan Hutchison – 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists

Hutchison was excellent at leading from the front as the Sharks completed an impressive finals campaign and downed a valiant Mustangs side.

His 17 points were the most of any Sutherland player, making five of his 12 attempts from the field and proving capable of creating his own look and knocking down the shot.

He drained a pair of three-pointers, and also hurt the defence with his ability to drive inside and finish close to the rim. Hutchison also drew plenty of contact and got some free throws to go, making five shots from the charity stripe on nine attempts.

Although he was not the tallest player on the court, Hutchison flew in third man up to secure the loose ball and pull down the defensive board. Finishing the match with seven rebounds, his presence on the glass proved crucial, particularly down the stretch.

Hutchison also set up plenty of Sutherland offence with his passing, dishing out to his fellow starters, three of whom also recorded double-digits in the points column. His vision and deft touch when passing the ball freed up the likes of Adrian Cabera and Marquel Beasley to knock down easy shots.

Hutchison was the strongest performer for Sutherland on the big stage, doing a bit of everything to ensure his side held on for a championship-clinching triumph.

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