New Zealand Breakers 100 Illawarra Hawks 85

The David Stockton era is off to a promising start as the New Zealand Breakers continue to build their title contending credentials.

A 100-85 dismantling of the Illawarra Hawks follows their impressive road win in Perth, moving Paul Henare's side to 6-4 on the season.

The comfortable victory over the Hawks was impressive on multiple levels. Not only was it emphatic, but it was the first time in 679 days that the Breakers had beaten their Illawarra foes.

It was the Hawks who were the Breakers' bogey side last season, beating them in all four games, by an average margin of 17.5 points per game.


Possessing a roster packed with experienced ANBL talent, the Hawks have enough firepower to be competitive, but were dealt to by the Breakers in their first game with Stockton suiting up.

Stockton arrived in the country a week ago as an injury replacement for Ben Woodside, but missed two games as he acclimatised and had the necessary medical clearances ticked off.

His long-awaited debut was delayed slightly further, introduced off the bench as Corey Webster handled the starting point guard duties. He did so with aplomb, roasting Rotnei Clarke as the Breakers raced out to a rapid 12-0 advantage.

It took the Hawks four minutes to get on the scoreboard, and their hefty deficit grew as Stockton entered the game.
He was greeted by rousing applause, support which soon proved to be justified. While the point guard only played 24 minutes, his on-court impact was noticeable.

Displaying jitterbug quickness, Stockton immediately splashed a jumper and fed Penney in transition for an open three. His speed and vision project to be extremely beneficial traits for the Breakers, able to fling cross-court and wrap-around passes with precision.

When the Hawks defence would press up, he utilised his foot speed to drive to the hoop, and sunk a three for good measure as the Breakers extended their advantage out to a 20 point margin.

There were a few teething issues defensively as Stockton was beaten off the dribble on occasion; with perimeter defence unlikely to be the Breakers' calling card.

However, it probably won't need to be, with the offensive talent of Webster, Stockton and Kirk Penney creating a fearsome trio equally adept at creating or distributing.


The Breakers' big men were solid too, with Alex Pledger posting 14 points and eight rebounds, Akil Mitchell chipping in with seven points and seven boards, and Mika Vukona providing his usual mix of rebounds and incisive passes from the high post.

Their efforts saw the Breakers win the battle of the boards, with a hand from the Hawks and their league-worst defensive rebounding rate.

Clarke's shot wasn't falling for the Hawks, and with fellow guard Marvelle Harris not a three-point threat, Illawarra didn't offer enough dimensions to trouble the Breakers, despite bench contributions which briefly brought them within double digits.

Stockton marked his debut by finishing as the game's top scorer with 17 points, also adding five assists. Penney and Tom Abercrombie contributed 16 points apiece, and Webster compiled 14 points and four assists.

The two sides meet again in Illawarra on Sunday, but the Breakers will be without centre Rob Loe who is out with a foot injury.

Breakers 100 (Stockton 17, Penney 16, Abercrombie 16)
Hawks 85 (Clarke 17, Harris 16, Ogilvy 16)
HT: 57-38