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Photo from Adelaide 36ers

Basketball

NBL: Kai Sotto, Adelaide suffer season sweep at hands of Illawarra


Kai Sotto and Adelaide were blown out of the water by Illawarra late, absorbing an 87-71 loss in the 2021-22 National Basketball League-Australia season, Friday at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Coming off a win against Cairns last February 20, the 36ers faltered in the most crucial of times against the Hawks.

Adelaide was down by as much as 19 points, 43-24, before Sotto and the 36ers rallied back, eventually tying the game at 57-all after a Daniel Johnson bucket with 3:19 left in the third canto.

Down by just five points, 62-57, heading into the final frame, Adelaide’s defense gave way.

Tyler Harvey was unstoppable to start the final frame, scoring seven of his 12 points in a 15-7 run to restore order for the Hawks.

A dunk by Sam Froling with 1:03 remaining punctuated the win for Illawarra.

Adelaide fell to 5-8 in the standings, suffering their fifth loss in their last seven games.

This is also Illawara’s third win against Adelaide this season, taking an 81-71 win last December 5 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Then they followed it up with a 100-89 victory last January 24 also at WIN.

Additionally, this is the first time the Hawks have scored a season sweep over the 36ers in 32 years.

Duop Reath led the Hawks with 18 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks while Justinian Jessup added 17 points built on three treys. Isaac White chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.

Illawarra went up to 9-7 in the standings — knotting Sydney at fourth place.

Sotto played just 15 minutes in the contest, tallying six points, six rebounds, three assists, and a block. The 7-foot-3 Filipino was a plus-12 in the contest.

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Sunday Dech paced Adelaide with 18 points while Johnson and Todd Whiters chipped in 13 points apiece. Johnson and Whiters also combined for 15 rebounds.

Craig Bairstow grabbed 13 rebounds as well.

Sotto and Adelaide return back home on Sunday to face Sydney.

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