The Taylor Bay Hawks have made it two-from-two in the 2021 Sal's National Basketball League with an 85-73 win over the Southland Sharks.
Rebounding from a 32-point drubbing by the Wellington Saints in the capital 24 hours earlier, the Sharks were expected to come out firing at Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale, after a long day that started on the road at 6am.
It was the Hawks who blasted first, guard Derone Raukawa taking the home side out to 9 points in the first 2 minutes but the Sharks rallied well to be just off the pace at the end of the first quarter, with the Hawks up 24-22.
The Hawks took charge going through the half up 50-41, going into the final quarter with a 16-point buffer, up 67-51.
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Raukawa dropped a game-high 28pts, one more than in last weekend's game, while Devondrick Walker added 16 to the 26 he scored in the opening match. Top scorers for the Sharks were Josh Cunningham with 21, and Hawke's Bay-raised Alonzo Burton with 14.
The battle between the Hawks' Hyrum Harris and the Sharks' Dom Kelman-Poto, both with Tall Blacks hopes this year, was one to watch and the former Sharks team-mates did not let up in a physical battle.
The Hawks, one of the 10-team NBL's favourites, opened their campaign last Sunday with a 104-90 win over the Canterbury Rams.
One of three unbeaten teams – with the Saints and Sunday game-players Auckland Huskies – the Hawks have a third game at home in a row against the Nelson Giants next Sunday before hitting the road for their first away game, against the Taranaki Mountainairs.