The Sky Tower Auckland Huskies got the better of an injury savaged Taylor Hawke’s Bay Hawks team at Eventfinda Stadium tonight, piling on 92 points while only conceding 71.
Without import, Devondrick Walker, last night’s man of the match, Ethan Rusbatch, and with an early injury to Derone Raukawa, the Hawks struggled to keep up with the hot shooting of Brooke Ruscoe and had no answer for the size of Chris Johnson.
The latter only had four points in the first half, but exploded in the third for 17 and was a security blanket for any of his fellow Huskies whose man someone got by them.
Despite the absence of several key figures, you couldn’t question the Hawks’ collective effort. Hyrum Harris exemplifying this in his constant pursuit of loose balls and drives with reckless abandon.
Early on, the Tall Black went tit for tat with Ruscoe, who was the spark for the home team after notching 12 points (3/3 from long range) in the opening quarter. That along with scores from five of his running mates saw the hosts up 22-15.
The Hawks battled back with Harris and Jonathan Janssen leading the charge, reigning the score line in to a one possession game.
Triples from Ruscoe and Sean Murphy restored the breathing room, but Rhys Vague added three to his tally just before the interval and the scoreboard only read 41-37 in the Huskies favour.
That was as good as it got for the visitors though, who now have eight days up their sleeve to rest and reset. Tonight’s winners return to the floor in a week’s time.
Auckland Huskies (92) defeated Hawke’s Bay Hawks (71) - BOXSCORE
Huskies: Chris Johnson (23pts, 12rbs & 4ast), Brook Ruscoe (19pts & 6rbs), Sean Murphy (12pts & 6rbs)
Hawks: Hyrum Harris (23pts, 10rbs & 3ast), Rhys Vague (19pts & 5rbs)
Stuff MVP Votes
Chris Johnson (Huskies) - 10
Brook Ruscoe (Huskies) - 6
Rhy Vague (Hawks) - 6
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) - 4
Taki Fahrenson (Huskies) - 2
Sean Murphy (Huskies) - 1
Everard Bartlett (Hawks) - 1
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)