Young Shoalhaven Tiger cubs secure first win against Hawkebury Jets

WINNING START: Merimbula's Rhys Willis made his debut for the Shoalhaven Tigers on Saturday, in their win against the Hawkesbury Jets at the Tigers Den. Photo: COURTNEY WARD

WINNING START: Merimbula's Rhys Willis made his debut for the Shoalhaven Tigers on Saturday, in their win against the Hawkesbury Jets at the Tigers Den. Photo: COURTNEY WARD

THE Kennedy’s Tours Shoalhaven Tigers secured their first win of the 2018 Waratah League youth division two on Saturday, at the Tigers Den.

The Tigers started strongly with Brendan Sampson leading the charge against the Hawkesbury Jets – with the hosts going into the first break up 17-11.

Coach Scott Balsar then instructed his team to push the ball and the cubs answered his plea.

Captain Riley O’Shannessy let loose, scoring 15 points and securing six rebounds for the quarter.

He was well backed up by Luke Smith, who picked up three steals and had nine points for the quarter, to give the Tigers a 23 point lead going into the main break.

The Jets then adjusted their game plan, going into a 1-2-2 zone – which the hosts struggled with.

The visitors went on an 11-nil run before Tim Blazer settled the Tigers by knocking down two triples.

Brayden Morris continued to terrorise the Jets guards on defence, forcing them to take tough shots while capitalising at the other end of the floor – as Tigers went into the fourth quarter up 66-42.

In the last quarter, O’Shannessy kept the scoreboard ticking over while the Jets found it hard to stop the centre – with him adding another 10 points and four rebounds to his tally.

At the final whistle, Balsar’s troops ran out winners 74-58, led by O’Shannessy, with finished with 27 points 14 rebounds and two assists.

“I was pleased with our result but concerned with our execution in the second half,” Balsar said.

“We work each week on our zone offence and if we can’t execute it, teams will sit back in a zone every time we play them.

“We put 52 points up in the first half and only managed 22 in the second half – we lost the second half 29-22.

“I know it’s early but we have to close teams out in the second half, especially when we worked so hard to get the lead.

“But it’s all fixable – we will make the adjustments at training this week.”

Other standouts included Luke Smith (11 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists), Brendan Sampson (eight points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists),  Tim Balzer (eight points, three rebounds and one assist) and Brayden Morris (six points, three steals and one assist).

“I was super impressed with all the boys, especially Riley O’Shannessy, Tim Balzer and Brendan Sampson,” Balsar said.

“Guards Josh Watts, Brayden Morris and Luke Smith all made valuable contributions throughout the game too.”

The Tigers next take on Illawarra this Saturday at the Snakepit from 2pm.

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