Own pace crucial to Hawks' strategic execution

BASKETBALL

Wollongong are taking a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach into Sunday’s home clash with the Adelaide 36ers.

It worked for the tortoise against the hare in the children’s classic tale and the Hawks hope to be similarly successful against the 36ers.

‘‘[Coach] Gordie [McLeod] talks about how Adelaide want to get up and down the floor and they’re a fast-paced team, and they score a lot of their points through their up-tempo game,’’ Wollongong guard Rotnei Clarke said.

‘‘We want to take our opportunities to run when we have them, but we have to be smart and take good shots, because we know they’re really good in transition.’’

Indeed, the Hawks need to take some of the pressure off their half-court offence by scoring more often in transition.

But they know they can’t fight fire with fire against a mobile, athletic team such as Adelaide.

The Hawks are at their best when moving the ball through hands in a structured offence.

‘‘When we have the opportunity to run, we want to go ahead and be aggressive and push in transition, but if not, we need to execute and get good shots,’’ Clarke said.

Seventh-placed Wollongong (6-13) have lost four straight and can barely afford another loss over their final nine games.

The Sixers (13-6) are cruising in second spot and beat the Hawks by six points and one point in two previous meetings in Adelaide.

‘‘This game is obviously huge,'' Clarke said.

‘‘Losing four in a row is tough. Games have been close down to the wire and it’s just little things that are hurting us. It’s frustrating for everyone. No-one likes to lose when you’re a competitor.

‘‘It’s going to be tough to [make the playoffs], but it’s definitely possible. Whether that means winning all of our games...you can’t count us out yet. This weekend would definitely be a good point to turn things around.’’

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