Hawks aim to conquer Conklin

BASKETBALL

Never one to shy away from a battle, Hawks big man Dave Gruber is buoyed by the challenge of helping subdue Townsville leading scorer Brian Conklin tomorrow.

The Crocodiles import has been his side's main scoring outlet this campaign, averaging 16.3 points per game and maintaining a huge presence inside.

Last week against the Taipans he poured in 26 points and Gruber is expecting to have to combat a similar display in the clash at Townsville Entertainment Centre.

"There is definitely an individual challenge with the bigs with myself, Oscar, Larry and Shane, against Conklin," Gruber said.

"He is a guy who is pretty offensive minded and tough in there.

"We will try and limit his touches and keep him as far away from the basket as possible.

"We will do it by committee.

"We don't depend on one guy to stop one guy on their team, it will be different guys at different times, so we will all have to bring a bit of energy and focus and try and disrupt him."

While Conklin will receive a lot of attention, the Crocodiles' shooting depth ensures the Hawks can't make the big man their sole focus.

"They have got solid imports with [Josh] Pace and Conklin inside and they have got shooters in Todd Blanchfield and Steven Markovic so we need to try and disrupt them as much as possible with our defence," Gruber said.

"Switching different defences, whatever we throw at them.

"Offensively we have been OK ... we just haven't been able to stop people.

"We will have to nail down defensively and then rebound the basketball. That is the other big area for us."

The Hawks were out rebounded in their first match with the Crocodiles way back in October, but were still able to register a 85-81 victory.

This time around Townsville will hold valuable home-court advantage in round two of their four-match series.

"Road wins in this league are tough no matter where you are on the ladder," Gruber said.

"Records aside it is about the series and we are 1-0 in the series and we are going to try and cement another win and hopefully get ahead in the series."

Success in Townsville would set the Hawks up nicely for a coming home stand in February.

"This stretch coming up we have got Townsville away and then to finish the month we have got a pretty good run home," Gruber said.

"If we can turn things around and get a bit of momentum started here then I think the tail end of the season will be great for us.

"It will be big for us to get a bit of confidence."

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