Illawarra Kittyhawks stay on course for top-two spot

Courtney Dean in action for the Illawarra Kittyhawks during their 70-53 home loss to Hornsby on Saturday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Courtney Dean in action for the Illawarra Kittyhawks during their 70-53 home loss to Hornsby on Saturday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

BASKETBALL

Defending champions Illawarra stayed on course for a top-two finish with a weekend split against Hornsby and Manly.

After struggling to find the basket in Saturday's 70-53 home loss to Hornsby, the Kittyhawks bounced back with Sunday's 90-55 road win over Manly to keep hold of second spot.

The Kittyhawks (10-4) were playing for the first time since starting guards Liisa and Katherine Ups left to take up basketball scholarships with the University of Buffalo.

"There's going to be an adjustment period for the team without the twins, and also for me in terms of how I'm going to rotate and sub players," coach Cheryl Lowe said.

Illawarra made just 30 per cent of their shots against the Spiders and had 23 turnovers. Shelley Bates (12) and Kate Hewett (11) were the Kittyhawks' leading scorers.

They raised their shooting accuracy to 44 per cent against Manly and lowered their turnovers to 14.

"They came out the next day and played a fantastic game," Lowe said.

"Everything fell into place and everyone contributed."

Lauren Sparks was the standout against the Sea Eagles, with 31 points and six assists. She hit 10/14 shots, including 5/6 threes.

Olivia White had 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Georgia Ohrdorf tallied 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

"It's not a bad run up until the end of the season, so hopefully we can string some wins together and secure a home final," Lowe said.

Illawarra also split their games in the WBL men's competition.

The Hawks beat Hornsby 79-62 on Saturday at home before going down 101-80 to Manly on Sunday.

Dominique Cooks had 18 points and eight rebounds against Hornsby, while Luke Jamieson dominated at both ends with 17 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and two steals in 32 minutes.

Luke McGuire was solid with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists. Ross Allsop also stood out with 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four blocks.

Cooks scored a team-high 20 points against Manly, followed by Allsop (18) and Scott Hunter (10).

The Hawks are 11th on the ladder with a 5-12 record.

Meanwhile, Wollongong Roller Hawks player Nick Taylor helped the Australian team to a 62-38 win over Germany at the wheelchair basketball world championships in South Korea.

Taylor scored 12 points as the defending champions improved their record to 2-0.

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