International Hoopathon Series: Mihalko stars in Hawks' thrilling win

A spate of baskets from the talented Cassidy Mihalko helped the Ringwood Hawks snatch the lead, and then the win from the home side, Kerala All Stars.

PS Jeena

P.S. Jeena (C) top scored for Kerala All Stars in the final game of the series with 27 points against Ringwood Hawks at Kozhikode.   -  K. Ragesh

With a little over three minutes remaining, it looked as though Kerala All Stars would pull off a stunning win over Ringwood Hawks in the last match of the Hoopathon international basketball series.

The home side, which was ahead for most of the game, was leading 59-53 in front of a good crowd at the V.K. Krishna Menon Indoor Stadium here on Sunday night. But, a spate of baskets from the talented Cassidy Mihalko helped the Melbourne team snatch the lead, and then the win.

The Australians won the match 68-63 and the five-match series 4-1. All of their last 13 points were scored by Mihalko.

The night truly belonged to the American, who only recently joined the team. She scored 31 points, including five three-pointers.

It was as if she could shoot at will from the outside. And when she wasn’t doing that, she cut into the Kerala defence with ease and found the basket more often than not.

Neehara Ravikumar played a key supporting role towards the end, giving Mihalko some crucial assists. Amanda Meinking, the tallest player on either side, scored 12 points and was a constant threat for the Kerala team, which is made up largely of the National championship-winning players.

RELATED:  1) Easy for Ringwood Hawks

                   2) When Kerala stunned the Hawks

Skipper P.S. Jeena, who played a key role in Kerala’s triumph at the Nationals at Puducherry early this year, was brilliant on the night accounting for 27 points. She received excellent support from ball-handler Shilji George, Grima Merlin Varghese and the Pune girl, Shireen Limaye.

It was indeed a tough fight by Kerala, but it just could not stop the onslaught from the Hawks in those final few minutes in what was an exciting encounter.

“This was possibly the best match of the series,” said the Melbourne team’s coach Tim Mottin. “Kerala fought really hard and Jeena was very impressive yet again.”

                                                             Scores

Ringwood Hawks 68 (Cassidy Mihalko 31, Amanda Meinking 12) beat Kerala All Stars 62 (P.S. Jeena 27, Shilji George 14, Grima Merlin Varghese 11).

                                                          

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