Boomers, Roller Hawks in Australian basketball gold rush

Champions of Asia, champions of Australia. 

It’s been a big few days Illawarra basketballers. 

Hawks guard Mitch Norton and big man Nick Kay will return to Wollongong after claiming the Asia Cup crown at the nation’s first attempt, with a 79-56 victory over Iran in Beirut.

Champions: The Boomers. Picture: AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Champions: The Boomers. Picture: AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Kay finished with nine points and three assists, including a crucial three-pointer just before the half-time buzzer.

The triumph came barely 24 hours after the Wollongong Roller Hawks claimed the National Wheelchair Basketball League title.

Meeting the vastly-improved Sydney Metro Blues in the final, after Kilsyth had exited the finals with consecutive losses, the Hawks won 79-70 in the decider.

Brett Stibners was named Finals MVP averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and 6.5 assists across two games.

“It feels awesome,” Hawks teammate Luke Pople said, who led the team with 25 points.

“It’s great to finish off the season the way we wanted to, great result.”

Brett Stibners

Brett Stibners

Pople had 25 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in the final. 

Despite the Boomers stunning success, finishing the tournament unbeaten and dominating the final, they failed to have one player selected in the Asia Cup All-Star Five. Kay and Norton, recruited from Townsville when the Crocodiles folded, played crucial roles in Illawarra’s charge to the NBL finals series last season, when they were beaten in three games by Perth.

The Hawks, without several top players, took on US College team Texas Longhorns in a pre-season game in Sydney on Monday night.

It feels awesome

Luke Pople