Hawthorn unable to summon the magic against Ballarat
Ballarat established itself on the glass in the first quarter capitalizing on the strong rebounding and defence of Josh Kunen. The only scoring opportunities Hawthorne saw in the paint was when single coverage by Ballarat defenders meant Kunen was pulled away from the basket. Noah Dempsey was able to convert from the outside though hitting back to back three pointers and giving Hawthorn the first quarter lead 12-10
In the second, Hawthorn’s constant ball movement and motion offence meant they were able to find open looks but they were unable to convert on the opportunities. Several travel calls leading to turnovers also meant the Magic scored only 6 points in the quarter.
Ballarat opened the second quarter with a wing jumper and fast break layup off a Hawthorn turnover while the Magic responded with another three from Noah Dempsey. Ballarat looked to push pace in the third where they had four sequences of fast break opportunities in a row with Hawthorn unable to get back on defence in time. Hawthorne seemed to have luck turning its way when Dempsey continued his spectacular shooting by hitting yet another three pointer with under 20 seconds left in the quarter…That was until Josh Kunen hitting a buzzer beating layup to turn the tide back in Ballarat’s favour.
In the fourth Ballarat’s Kyle Mazzarella used the only play he seemed to have in his arsenal, that was “drive hard to paint, don’t look to pass and draw the foul” and it was seemingly very effective as he managed to get to the free throw line on four different occasions in the quarter. With a 10 point lead, 1:20 remaining and the game in hand, coach Will Blake pulled his anchor Josh Kunen to bench for his first break in of the entire evening signalling the victory. Ballarat defeated Hawthorn with a final score of 53-43.