The visiting cañada colts entered the Nest hoping for a similar result as the first contest between the two ball clubs, a decisive cañada win. However, that would not be the case tonight.
The first half got off to a fast start with HawkNation using a mix of guard play and strong post moves to establish a 17-12 lead seven minutes into the contest. Nick Evans led the initial surge with 10 points using a dazzling array of drives into the heart of the colts defense. As the half progressed, the Hawks stayed disciplined on both sides of the ball; utilizing effective ball movement for easy buckets on offense and communication, rebounds, and rotations on the defensive side to maintain their five point lead, 28-23, with eight minutes remaining in the frame.
Over the next four minutes, the visitors would use a micro-run, taking a short-lived 32-33 lead on a triple with 4:30 remaining. The back-and-forth continued over the next two minutes as the Hawks sought to re-establish control of the contest. With just under two left, Hundal score on a strong move in the paint to put the Hawks up 40-37. A stop on the defensive and a tip rebound by big-man Anand led to a triple from the top by Goooooooooose Persin. Anand showed his true versatility over the final :45 seconds by blocking a shot on one end and scoring on the offensive end as HawkNation went into the half up 45-39. Anand Hundal paced HawkNation with 14 followed by Nick Evans with 10.
Coming out of the half the colts made an energetic run to cut the Hawk lead to 54-53. However, a three by first-year point guard John Ketchel and back to back buckets in the paint by spirited Justin Baylis, followed by a deep contested three by Nick Evans put the Hawks up 65-57 with 11:14 left in the contest, forcing cañada into a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, HawkNation broke the colt full-court pressure, resulting in a dunk by Alafia Oluwusogo in transition to put the Hawks up 67-55 with eleven minutes left. The next three minutes would see the teams combine for twenty points. However, the Hawks would maintain their lead, 75-64 with eight minutes remaining in the contest.
Looking to make a game of it, the colts put together a 9-0 run to pull within two, 75-73 before Justin Baylis drew a foul and capitalized on the double bonus opportunity by sinking both to put the Hawks up four. A defensive stop, a bucket by Oluwusogo, and dunk in transition by Anand Hundal off the Nick Evans assist, put HawkNation up 81-75 with 5:11 remaining. After a Hawk free throw, a colt bucket, a trio of authoritative defensive rebounds by Alafia Oluwusogo, and two more made free trows by Hundal, the Hawks settled into an 85-77 lead with 2:18 remaining in the half.
The final two minutes were...exciting to say the least.
After the dust settled Nick Evans paced the Hawks with 21 points as HawkNation came away with the 94-89 win to move into a 4th place tie with idle Ohlone and now sit one game behind third-place cañada. The Hawks are off next Wednesday and then head to City College to take on the first place rams on Friday, February 9th at 7pm.