Jets claw past wounded Hawks

MANAWATU Jets took full advantage of a Hawke’s Bay Hawks side that had a run of bad luck both pre and mid-game to secure a tight three-point win in a rare mid-week New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) fixture. The Jets never had it easy, but were able to set up the win with a dominant third term and eventually hold on in a nail-biting 90-87 victory at Fly Palmy Arena.

MANAWATU JETS 22 | 21 | 28 | 19 (90)
HAWKE’S BAY HAWKS 20 | 26 | 19 | 22 (87)

Manawatu Jets had a forgettable loss to Taranaki Airs in Round 9, suffering a 31-point defeat, but were able to have a bit more luck against a contending Hawks sides that was missing a number of key stars. Minus Hyrum Harris and Ethan Rusbatch who were on Tall Blacks duties, the Hawks were without Derone Raukawa and Jack Exeter for periods of time as they both had to shake off knocks from the game. The Jets were able to make the most of more rotations and experience to take control in the third term.

Prior to that, it had been quite a battle at the Jets’ home court, as they lead by two points at quarter time with Zane Najdawi (10 points) and Rob Crawford (six) leading them to a 22-20 advantage. Star shooter Shane Temara would single-handedly step up for the Jets after the Hawks regained the lead early, piling on a mind-bogging 17 of his side’s 21 points. It kept the Jets in the game as the Hawks lead by nine points at one stage, only for the home team to close the deficit to three at the main break.

A dominant start by the Jets in the third term saw them score the first 11 points of the quarter, and then piled on 24 of the first 28 points to lead by 17 after a Pafe Momoisea triple. With 3:35 left on the clock, signs of a blowout were there given the Hawks had scored four points in seven minutes, but they were not done with yet. The Hawks piled on 15-4 in the final three minutes, with Jordan Hunt (seven points) and Quintin Bailey (six) the key scorers. By the final break, the Jets lead 71-65.

Scoring eight of the first nine points of the quarter, the Hawks grabbed the lead in the opening two minutes to be 73-72 up. That would soon change as Klein Salmon, Crawford and John Bohannon hit crucial baskets to lead by as much as seven points with two and a half on the clock. Three-point shooting efforts from Bailey and Everard Bartlett cut the deficit to three in the final two minutes, and when Jarrod Kenny made a layup with 58 seconds on clock to put the scores at 87-89. A miss from Crawford allowed the Hawks in, but a crucial turnover gave the ball straight back. With 12 seconds on the clock, the Jets scored one of two free throws from Crawford, and a last second triple attempt from Bartlett missed leaving the Hawks to rue falling three points shot, 87-90.

Crawford finished with a game-high 25 points, as well as three rebounds and three assists, while teammates Najdawi (14 points, 14 rebounds and three assists) and Bohannon (11 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, six blocks and two steals) both picked up double-doubles. Coming off the bench, Temara managed the 20 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Fo the Hawks, Bailey hit 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds off the bench, with Bartlett’s nine rebounds a team-high. Hunt (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks) was the most prolific, while Tajuan Agee had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the loss.

Both sides have a nice long break with the Manawatu Jets not playing until Thursday, July 7 against Franklin Bulls, while Hawke’s Bay Hawks have until the following Monday, July 11 to take on Otago Nuggets.

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