Belief helps Hawks past rough patch

BASKETBALL

Galvanised by their early run of losses, the Wollongong Hawks are prepared for play-off style games for the rest of the season.

The Hawks lost six of their opening seven games, but they soldiered through an unenviable schedule and have climbed back into finals contention with wins in five of their past eight games.

Tomorrow they are shooting for their third straight victory when they host the Cairns Taipans, who are backing up from last night's home game against Sydney.

"The coaching staff do a great job of keeping us grounded, and when we struggled earlier in the season, we knew we were still there because we were seeing progress every day," Wollongong forward Dave Gruber said.

"We believe in what we're doing and we believe in the system, but it's important to actually see the progress in the win column. It does wonders for the confidence.

"We expect everything to be close. We don't expect to be blowing any people out. That's just not the type of team we have and it's not that type of league.

"Hopefully those close games we've had keep us well prepared for the second half of the season."

The fifth-placed Hawks (6-9) have a friendly run to the finals, if there is such a thing.

Of their final 13 games, eight are at home.

"It was frustrating that we weren't getting wins early on, but we just kept focusing on what we had to do to get better," centre Larry Davidson said.

"We've got on a bit of a run and we're right there, but now we've got to a level where we have had some wins we can't have any slip-ups, because from now on it's going to be pretty cut-throat with wins and losses."

Hawks management will give away a free child's ticket with every adult ticket sold.

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