Hawks overcome Olympians in entertaining clash to make first grand final in 20 years

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Hawks are through to their first grand final in 20 years. Pictured is Fletcher Klasztorny.
Camera IconHawks are through to their first grand final in 20 years. Pictured is Fletcher Klasztorny. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Hawks basketball club are through to the big dance for the first time in 20 years at the expense of the Olympians after a back-and-forth contest on Monday night.

They took the preliminary clash 101-86 thanks to the Buccs trio of Robert Greichen, Fletcher Klasztorny and Ryan Blanchett who combined for 90 points.

Olympians were hoping to make it five grand final appearances in a row in their quest for a three-peat but were the underdogs against a Hawks side that has had the wood over them this year.

They started brightly with Quinton Narkle hitting an early three while Malik Meunier got a couple of drives to the rim going.

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The Hawks responded through Robert Greichen who had a great start to the match with Klasztorny using his strength to drive through the Olympians defence.

Johny Narkle had an uncharacteristically quiet night and drawing three early fouls had to be managed in the first half taking away their best three-point shooter.

Isaac Smith was making up for the loss under the rim but Olympians were beginning to struggle on the foul count.

This saw the Hawks slow the game down, happy to hold the ball and work into the Olympians’ defence to draw fouls and be sent to the line which allowed them to open up a gap into half-time.

Klasztorny had eight points from the line making 19 for the half with Greichen close behind on 18 as they led 51-44 at the break.

With the game threatening to run away from them Olympians were given a break as the Hawks were sloppy to open the second-half.

They gave away six fouls inside the opening five minutes with Greichen having four to his name with more than 15 minutes still left on the clock.

Richard Bartlett was Olympians best with 27 points
Camera IconRichard Bartlett was Olympians best with 27 points Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Richard Bartlett was starting to motor along, feasting on the fast breaks as the Hawks look frustrated, losing the lead for the first time since the opening salvos.

Their shooting percentage plummeted as the minor premiers were in danger of crashing out of the finals in straight sets with the crowd firmly behind the Olympians.

Meunier was making lay-ups from anywhere and the Hawks were affording too much room in defence as Bartlett shot well from the field.

But a couple of lay-ups were enough to get their mojo back as Greichen was brought back on despite the danger of fouling out.

Their shots began to drop again and they grabbed back the lead with Olympians having to chase the game with fatigued bodies.

The high humidity made for oppressive conditions and a slippery court at times with multiple players taking a tumble. Klasztorny even toppled over into the stands at one point but was fortunately not injured.

Olympians couldn’t muster a late fightback as they missed out on the grand final for the first time since 2018.

Bartlett finished with 27 points with Meunier next best with 18 and Smith with 17.

But Greichen, who managed to avoid fouling out, finished with 32 his second-best performance for the year with Klasztorny grabbing 31 points and Blanchet 27.

Klasztorny said it was a good feeling to help the team back into the grand final.

“It feels very good to do it for the fellas that have been around for a while having only joined the team late last season,” he said.

“I know for the likes of (coach) Kyle Clarkson and Bobby Greichen it means a lot.

“I also want to congratulate Olympians they’ve been really fun to play against all year, unfortunately, their season’s over but full respect to them.”

Hawks will play Pumas in the decider starting at 8.20pm on Friday.

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