The Brisbane Bullets brought their National Basketball League (NBL) season preparations to Logan on Friday night when they took on last year’s grand finalists the Illawarra Hawks in a preseason clash.
The Bullets came into the game at the Logan Metro Centre without centre Tom Jervis, back up point guard Shaun Bruce and Mitch Young due to injury and illness and went down to the visitors 94-67.
Illawarra were led to the win by Andrew Ogilvy who was dominant throughout and finished with 29 points.
The Bullets trailed at the end of the first quarter 22-18 but were lead by American Stephen Holt with eight points and Australian representative Daniel Kickert with six points, while the Hawks were led by Demitrius Conger with nine.
Illawarra cranked up the defensive pressure in the second quarter and pushed their lead to 47-37 at the main break.
The physical nature of the Hawks’ defence frustrated the Bullets with Kickert and Hawks guard Rhys Martin having to be separated by the referees when the Brisbane centre took exception to a bump from Martin.
Ogilvy was in fine form for the Hawks and finished the first half with 17 points, while Holt paced Brisbane with 11.
The Hawks extended their lead to 65-53 by the end of the third quarter, a lead which would have been larger if not for an Adam Gibson three pointer in the final seconds of the period.
Illawarra continued their defensive pressure in the fourth quarter to record an impressive victory in front of an excited Logan crowd.
Brisbane assistant coach CJ Bruton said the Bullets’ defence let them down and would need to improve before the season starts.
“Overall we want to see some good signs, but I thought tonight was just not showing that heart,” he said.
“Defensively you have to play with effort, there was a lot of breakdowns.”
Bruton said preseason matches such as Friday night’s at Logan are important for the Bullets’ future.
It’s definitely huge, it’s what makes the game great, for the club being in the community, the support that you get you’ve got to give it back,” he said.
The Bullets’ season begins against the Perth Wildcats on October 7.
The Bullets played a second match against the Hawks at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.