THE Shoalhaven Tigers have had a heartbreaking end to their promising Waratah State League season after going down to the Illawarra Hawks on Saturday in the semi-final at Sutherland.
The Tigers went into the match confident having comfortably defeated the Sutherland Sharks in the quarter-finals two week’s previously to progress straight to the semi-finals.
But it was not Shoalhaven’s day.
The team had its poorest shooting percentage of the competition and went down to the Hawks 61-49.
The Tigers got off to a bad start after American import Chris Moore suffered an ankle injury during the first minute of the game.
To his credit, Moore kept playing on one leg and ended up top scoring for the team with 26 points.
It was a tough first quarter for the Tigers, only racking up seven points to the Hawks’ 19.
The Tigers picked up in the second quarter to score 10 points, to Illawarra’s 11, but still trailed 30-17 at the long break.
Shoalhaven continued to struggle with accuracy in the third quarter and managed to score more than the Hawks in the fourth.
But it was too little too late to make up the point difference and the Tigers were denied a grand final spot at the full-time buzzer.
Tigers coach Scott Balsar said it was his team’s worst game all season.
“Poor shooting from the field and free throws cost us the game,” he said.
Illawarra went on to play Sutherland in the grand final on Sunday. Sutherland took out the championship 72-57.
“We couldn’t have done anything different in our preparations for the day, we just didn’t execute.”
““Forty nine points is the lowest we have ever scored. But at the end of the day we were outplayed. What is really disappointing is that the team that we beat went on to win it.”
Besides Moore’s 26 points, the next highest point scorer for the Tigers was Paul Roddam (9), closely followed by Jeremy Goode (7).
Balsar said that all they can do now is rebuild for next year.