Hobart lose import but sweep round

Following the axing of Cam Bennerman just four matches into the season, the Hobart Chargers have lost their second import with Kyle Hunt returning to the USA for personal reasons.

The centre was averaging just under a double-double per game with 17.1 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting at 53%. He sat fifth in the league for offensive boards and will leave a gaping hole in the paint as he collected almost double the amount of rebounds than the next most prolific Charger.

The club’s dreadful luck with imports has continued after the loss of Zach White and Jerrah Young last season. Coach Ben Rush told The Mercury that a solution to Hunt’s problem could not be found despite working through the issue all week.

There are always things in a season… that teams have to deal with and this is the latest for us. I’m sure the group will come together as it did earlier in the year with cutting Cam.

And come together they did, winning both games for the weekend in an ACT sweep.

Truth be told, there was not too much to take away from their victory over the Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Friday night, as the CoE was severely undermanned. With preparations underway for the Under-19 World Championships, they sported just six players, four of which were on debut.

Jumping out to a 20-point advantage by half-time, Hobart hung on despite a spirited comeback from the home team. The CoE cut the lead to three with under three minutes remaining before eventually succumbing, 77-84.

The following night was an arm-wrestle against the Canberra Gunners with the lead never exceeding six points for either side. Shane Harris-Tunks’ five points in the final quarter gave the visitors a handy lead with three minutes remaining however another late charge saw a Ben Allen three-pointer tie the match with seven seconds to go.

Kevin White, the early season replacement for Bennerman, was the hero though, nailing a buzzer-beating jumper for a 75-73 victory.

Without Hunt, it will be difficult for Hobart to maintain their league-best defence but they have held strong initially, giving up just three more points per game than their season average.

Tom Wright (25 points per game over the round) took over at the offensive end while White reached double-figures in both matches. Michael Woods also showed his capabilities off the bench, giving Hobart a different avenue to score while they search for another mid-season replacement.