The Taylor Hawks have claimed their sixth straight win in convincing fashion, defeating the Augusta Mountainairs 105-72.
Everard Bartlett was on fire tonight scoring a game high 30 points all of which came from the three point line where he hit 10 of 14. Hyrum Harris added 18 point for the Hawks who got 58 points from the bench.
Taranaki were competitive for the first quarter, but from thereon it would be all Hawks as they would lead by as many as 46 points. Head coach, Zico Coronel, was able to rotate his squad giving much needed rest for his starters who played the night before in Christchurch. Angus Brandt would grab a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in under 18 minutes.
Xavier Smith was the lone import tonight for the Airs who were missing both Javonte Douglas and Roger Woods. The two players were sorely needed for the Airs who only a month ago had beat the Hawks in overtime at Pettigrew Green Arena.
But tonight they were facing a Hawks team with momentum heavily in their favour. They are proving to be one of the best offensive sides in the competition, in particular from the outside, where they 48% from three. Defensively they made it difficult for the Airs to score as they were held to 32% from the field.
Smith top scored with 18, Dane Brooks had 17, and Alonzo Burton added 14 for the Airs who slump to their seventh straight defeat.
Taranaki end their season with a 3-15 record, and now will rely on the 2 Cheap Supercity Rangers to beat the Go Media Jets tomorrow to avoid the wooden spoon for the second straight season.
After going 0-18 only two seasons ago, the Hawks have come a long way since then finishing the regular season with a 12-6 record and returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. They will be facing the two time defending champion Cigna Saints next Saturday in the first semi-final at 5pm.
Tomorrow the other two semi-finalists SIT Zerofees Sharks and Mike Pero Nelson Giants will battle it out in Invercargill to determine the second and third positions.
Week 14: Saturday, 28th July
At Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier
Taylor Hawks 105 (Everard Bartlett 30, Hyrum Harris 18, Angus Brandt 16)
Augusta Mountainairs 72 (Xavier Smith 18, Dane Brooks 17, Alonzo Burton 14)