The Illawarra Hawks will play the Perth Wildcats in this year’s NBL Grand Final after defeating the Adelaide 36ers at Titanium Security Arena in Game 3 of the Semi Finals on Thursday night.
Adelaide threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Hawks in the last term and the parochial home crowd nearly lifted the roof off when the Sixers got within 5 points after trailing by 19 early in the last term.
Nathan Sobey was ‘playing like a man possessed’ in the last term with 13 last quarter points and as well as MVP Jerome Randle who finished with a game high 26 points, they nearly produced an incredible comeback.
However it wasn’t to be for the 36ers with the Hawks holding their nerve to run out victors by 8 points, 106 to 98.
The win was even more amazing when you consider that AJ Ogilvy only played 7 minutes after he rolling his ankle early on in the game.
Hawks Coach Rob Beveridge couldn’t hide his excitement with the victory.
“I’ve never been part of something that miraculous though, you lose your main focal point and everybody stepped up,” Beveridge said.
Rotnei Clarke and Marvelle Harris were the stars for the Hawks with 20 points and 17 points respectively and they were well supported by Rhys Martin with 13 points and Cody Ellis with 11 points.
For the minor premiers it was a disappointing end to the season, however they can certainly be proud of the turnaround after being bottom of the ladder early in the season.
Next up for the Hawks is a battle on Sunday with the reigning premiers Perth in game 1 of the best of 5 grand final series which promises to be a beauty!
Illawarra Hawks 106
Adelaide 36ers 98
Rotnei Clarke 20
Marvelle Harris 17
Rhys Martin 13
Jerome Randle 26
Nathan Sobey 22
Words by Bevan Jones