A packed Snakepit witnessed the Illawarra Hawks men's NBL1 team storm past the Norths Bears 94-82 to secure a spot in next week's finals weekend, where they'll face the Canberra Gunners at Hills Basketball Stadium in a one-off elimination game to qualify for Sunday's Grand Final.
Trailing by nine after a foul-plagued first half, the Hawks outscored the Bears 27-17 in the third and 26-15 in the fourth period despite losing the NBL1's leading scorer Kiwi Gardner midway through the 3rd. Gardner fouled out with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
Veteran Tim Coenraad led the way with 27 points and 8 boards; Harry Morris had a big second half to finish with 18 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
Patty Lancaster had 13 & 4. Youngster Sam Giles kept the Hawks in striking distance in the first half with a couple of needed threes on his way to 10 points and 4 boards in 20 minutes.
Watch the replay on the NBL1 East site.
Earlier Saturday the Hawks Women's NBL1 team had their season ended at North Sydney in their elimination game against the Bears. The team made it back to the Snakepit in time to celebrate the Men's win.
Photos/Video: Joel Armstrong