11 Oct 2013

Breakers start quest for four-peat with convincing win at Vector

11:13 am on 11 October 2013

The New Zealand Breakers have begun their quest for a fourth straight Australian basketball league title in winning fashion in Auckland.

The Breakers beat the Wollongong Hawks 92-73 in Auckland with Tom Abercrombie and Daryl Corletto leading scorers with 19 each in an explosive offence at Vector Arena.

Also on defence the Breakers stood up, restricting the Hawks to 45 points in the last three-quarters.

Before tip-off, their third championship banner was raised and foundation player Dillon Boucher's number 24 was retired.

The Hawks led after the first quarter by two points, the Australians shooting out to an early eight-point lead as Tom Abercrombie suffered two fouls and sat down for the rest of the first quarter.

But it was all the Breakers from there, the hosts' lead 51-44 at half-time and 74-59 heading down the stretch.

They were twice up by 23 points in the final quarter before the Hawks brought it back to a more respectable 19-point final difference.

New Breakers import Kerron Johnson had a good debut, scoring 14 points and making five assists, though he almost fouled out - bench guard Corey Webster had the same stats (bar the foul count) while shooting guard Daryl Corletto top-scored for the champions with 19 points, including four from five shooting from the three-point line.

Corletto's hot hand before and after the break propelled the Breakers to the big lead they never came close to losing - the Australian's crediting his team-mates for getting him open looks.

Hawks' import Rotnei Clarke top-scored overall with 20, but he only had two team-mates join him on double figures, while the Breakers shared the scoring around with five players reaching 14 or more points.

Forward and Tall Blacks captain Mika Vukona scored 14 but fouled out in the final quarter.