Dion Prewster had dwelled on his debut stint with the Hawks in 2013 and how it was time for him and three other players to right the wrong.

Well, Prewster walked the talk last night as he spearheaded the Taylor Corporation-sponsored Hawke's Bay franchise team to a 92-84 upset victory over the SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks in Napier to signal an electric start to the Sal's National Basketball League season.

The 28-year-old was named the player of the match after scoring a game-high 23 points, six rebounds and an assist and block each.

"We've come in with a focus. We know we have a pretty solid group so to get a whole lot of people here tonight was great so, hopefully, we can keep it going," said the Wellington player in his second stint with the Hawks after a forgettable season with coach Tab Baldwin in 2013.


Prewster said Southland centre Alex Pledger was one of the best rebounders in the game so it had been impressed on how the Hawks needed to keep him and others off the boards.

"We stuck to what we do best so, fortunately, we managed to get a win," he said.

The Jarrod Kenny-led Hawks brought back memories of days of a powerhouse region as a former coach of both the Hawks and the Sharks sides, outgoing New Zealand Breakers coach and current Tall Blacks mentor Paul Henare, watched the humdinger of match at the Pettigrew-Green Arena in Taradale.

The visitors had to be the favourites as the NBL losing grand finalists last season but someone forgot to tell that to the Hawks, under the tutelage of Hawks rookie NBL head coach Zico Coronel.

The beaming smile of Hawks board chairman Keith Price required no interpretation.

"It's a great start," Price said as he shook hands with well wishers.

Prewster said it was a rough season under Baldwin but it was nice to have a good environment under new staff, new players and a new coach.

"You know, Hawke's Bay is back to where it needs to be."

He said the 75 per cent-full PG Arena on a Thursday night was a good turnout.

"Hopefully we can keep it rolling and anyone who is reading the newspaper or listening - keep coming up because we need your support."

Hawks swingman Dion Prewster has the measure of Sharks captain Reuben Te Rangi at the PG Arena, Napier, last night. Photo/Photosport
Hawks swingman Dion Prewster has the measure of Sharks captain Reuben Te Rangi at the PG Arena, Napier, last night. Photo/Photosport

Back from playing in Germany, he didn't see his the match honours coming his way.

"We've got so much talent and guys who are willing to work hard so we came in and tried to be aggressive. If someone got it going - Everard [Bartlett], JK [captain Jarrod Kenny] Angus [Brandt] or whoever - we've just got to keep attacking because I don't think anyone necessarily cares who scores the points as long as the results is a W."

Southland coach Judd Flavell said the different line up, screening the three-point line and launching from behind the three were factors.

"We're living and dying from that but tonight they got their eye in and we were poor in our defence execution in running guys off or just knowing where they were," said Flavell of the Reuben Te Rangi-led side.

He felt the damage was done in the third spell and his men were late in responding.

The Sharks play defending champions Wellington Saints next but he welcomed that sort of back-to-back oppositions for a new squad to fine tune their systems.

"We don't have all the answers right now but, I guess, it's a good test for us to be on the road first and then to be put straight into probably the two of the top four teams in the competition.

You know, we don't shy away from that as it's a good opportunity for us to see where we're at," Flavell said.