SCOTT Balsar's reign as Illawarra Hawks youth league men's coach started in impressive fashion on Saturday, as they defeated Manly-Warringah 83-79.
Despite at match being played at the Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre, the Shoalhaven product and his side - featuring Bomaderry's Gavin Costain and Mollymook Beach's Ziad El Tobgy - jumped out to a 20-14 lead midway through the first quarter.
The hosts finished the stronger, to lead 21-20 at quarter-time.
But the second quarter belonged to Balsar's side, as they outscored their opponents by eight points to go into half-time up 40-33.
In true Sea Eagles form, the hosts hit a barrage of three-pointers in the third quarter, to go into the final term up by two (59-57).
A Jackson Smyth (32 points) basket with 2.27 on the clock put the hosts up 77-73 but late-game heroics by Costain and Lukas Battisti got the Hawks back in the fixture - to tie it up 79-all in the final minute.
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But the hero of the game was Harry Morris, who hit a three-pointer in the final seconds - while being fouled - to secure the gutsy 83-79 win.
Morris led all scorers with 34 points on Saturday, while Costain chipped in seven for the Hawks.
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The Shoalhaven trio's Hawks next take to the court on Saturday, March 21 when they host Sutherland at the Snakepit.