Hyped Hawks must find happy balance

BASKETBALL

He might be his team’s deepest thinker, but even Larry Davidson can’t explain how the Wollongong Hawks morphed from pretenders into contenders.

Seven weeks ago the Hawks were in danger of becoming just the second team in the club’s 35-year history to finish with the wooden spoon.

But after winning six of their past seven games, they  are now on the cusp of a top-four finish.

If they beat arch rivals Sydney on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre, the Hawks will qualify for the semi-finals for the third time in the last five years.

‘‘Six weeks ago we were sitting at the bottom of the ladder and thinking what was going to happen with our season,’’ Davidson said.

‘‘You just think if you can win one and then win two, that you can turn it around, but you never really know how you’re going to turn it around or what’s going to make it happen.

‘‘I couldn’t really tell you what the secret ingredient has been in these last six or seven games, but for whatever reason we’ve done it and now we’re in the situation where it’s all coming down to Friday.’’

Both teams fully understand the ramifications of Friday’s outcome.

If the Hawks lose, they then have to beat Perth in Perth on Sunday and rely on Townsville to upset the Kings on Saturday night.

‘‘It’d be a massive game anyway, but the fact that it’s Sydney just adds to it,’’ Davidson said.

‘‘We’re hoping for a bonkers crowd. What we’ve seen this year is that regardless of the size of the crowd, it’s been really loud and intense. If we can double that it’ll be pretty insane.’’

Despite their perfect 3-0 record against Sydney this season, the Hawks are taking nothing for granted.

‘‘It’ll be good to get out there and get through the first couple of minutes, and then everyone will settle down and it’ll be on,’’ Davidson said.

‘‘You have to find that balance. You need that intensity and focus to be locked in to every possession. But you also don’t want to get too hyped, where you get caught up in the moment and stop thinking about the little things each player has to do to make the team successful.

‘‘You can’t let the situation overtake the way you play. You have to make sure you play your game. We can definitely look at what’s been successful the last few times we’ve played them and take confidence from that.’’

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