top of page

Whai make dream NBL debut in Hawks rout

The National Basketball League's (NBL) newest team the Mid-North Whai celebrated their debut in the league in perfect fashion

In front of a big crowd at Tauranga's Mercury Baypark Arena on Friday night, the Whai announced themselves as the league's 11th franchise, powering home in the second half for a 91-70 victory over the Bay Hawks.

The Whai rode Tall Blacks guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt, hometown hero Jayden Bezzant and import Phil Carr in the 21-point victory.

American forward Carr put up an impressive double-double in his first NBL game, finishing with a game-high 24 points (8/12 FG, 2/3 3pt, 6/11 FT), 13 rebounds and two blocks.

Perrott-Hunt led the scoring in the first quarter with a 13-point explosion before finishing with 23 points (7/14 FG, 5/9 3pt, 4/4 FT), while Bezzant contributed 14 points (7/16 FG), four assists and two steals as he relished being back in a starting role after coming off the bench last season with the Franklin Bulls.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt
Kruz Perrott-Hunt hit five threes in his 23 points for the Whai. PHOTO: NBL

The teams had a back-and-forth tussle in the first half before a dominant third quarter pushed the Whai clear.

Both teams were short one import, while the Hawks' Tall Blacks star Jordan Ngatai is yet to arrive back in the country while finishing his season in Finland.

Keanu Rasmussen was a shining light for the visitors, scoring a team-high 23 points (9/19 FG, 2/9 3pt) and five rebounds, while Josh Roberts had 14 points (7/11 FG) and nine boards after dealing with early foul trouble. Lucas Sutherland also managed 13 points (5/15 FG).

The Whai are at home to the Auckland Tuatara next Saturday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Hawks host the Southland Sharks next Sunday (tip-off 7.30pm).

Mid-North Whai 91 (Phil Carr 24, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 23, Jayden Bezzant 14) Bay Hawks 70 (Keanu Rasmussen 23, Josh Roberts 14, Lucas Sutherland 13). 1Q: , HT: , 3Q:


bottom of page