The Hawks have failed to finish off 2022 in style in front of their home fans with a 107-97 loss to Perth which means the side finish the year on a six match losing run.
Strong showings from co-captains Tyler Harvey and Sam Froling were not enough in the end as the Wildcats showed their class at the WEC.
The Hawks came out of the blocks hard and fast in the first quarter, with Harvey setting the precedent early with a three pointer and Froling scoring six early points from three rebounds.
But the Wildcats - fresh off their overtime loss to Brisbane just days earlier - were not going down without a fight. Luke Travers hit an impressive shot from outside the arc to keep pace with the Hawks.
Illawarra led by seven at one point but the score was 30-28 the way of the Wildcats at the end of an entertaining first 10 minutes.
A combination of brilliant three-point shooting from the Wildcats and a poor conversation rate from the home side saw the West Australians stretch their lead out by 17 points.
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The Hawks were dealt a blow just before half-time with star import Peyton Siva appearing to severely hurt his shoulder in an off the ball collision with TaShawn Thomas.
To make matters worse, the Wildcats went into the half-time break up 61-44.
The players took to the court for the second half and both teams scored points early but the deficit was still large for the Hawks to make up.
Perth were dealt and injury worry of their own with Travers limping off in midway through the third quarter.
A stellar showing in the third quarter saw the Hawks behind by just three points going into the last 10 minutes as the home fans realised they were very much in the contest once more.
The ledger was squared just one minute into the last quarter thanks for a three pointer by Harvey.
Perth then kept their cool and finished the match winners, 107-97.
The Hawks will have a quick turnaround, taking on Cairns in Wollongong on 2 January.
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