Remember me? A thumb injury hampered Hawks guard Mitch Norton’s chances of being part of the Boomers’ latest squad, but he showed why he must remain in the conversation for a spot in the upcoming World Cup team with a game-winning performance on Friday.
Norton drained a dramatic last minute three-point shot off the glass to steal an unlikely 84-82 triumph over the New Zealand Breakers.
He missed two months after fracturing his thumb in the first week of December, which saw him miss the chance to be named in the Australian team for next week’s Cup qualifiers.
He finished with 16 points and six assists to help Illawarra steal a sensational away victory. Breakers coach Paul Henare showed utter contempt for his opponent when they lead by 18 points in the second half.
Henare’s second unit couldn’t finish the job as Norton and the Hawks gunned down the hosts.
Hawks import Demitrius Conger put in another sensational performance, tallying 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Nick Kay scored 15 points.
Breakers bench weapon Finn Delany scored 23 points had seven rebounds in one of his best displays of the season. Edgar Sosa had 16 points.
The Breakers had a double digit lead at the first change and controlled proceedings until the final quarter.
But just when they thought they had the game won, Illawarra pulled off a dramatic late comeback. The Hawks out-scored New Zealand 31-13 in the fourth quarter to cripple the Breakers’ chances of hosting a home final.