Tag: nelson giants

Hawks swoop against Saints as Nuggets’ Giant first half secures win over Nelson

HAWKES Bay Hawks swooped on the Wellington Saints early to post an impressive win in the 2019 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) finals rematch, whilst the Otago Nuggets spoiled the Nelson Giants’ 40th birthday celebrations in the other match. Both games saw the eventual winners storm to a big lead early, and shake up the ladder, as the top four teams now sit a game clear of the rest of the competition.

In the top three clash, Hawkes Hay Hawks leapfrogged the Wellington Saints to hand their opponents only their second loss for the season. Moving into second spot on the ladder, the Hawks did so by taking control from the opening tip-off and leading 23-12 at the first break. The Saints predictably clawed their way back into the contest, winning the second term by six points and the third by three, but the home team steadied when it counted to win the last stanza by four, and the match by six, 88-82.

Hawkes Bay shot at a more accurate 49 per cent from the field, compared to the Saints’ 41 per cent. They won the rebounds (39-37), points in the paint (38-34) and second chance points (15-8) on the night. The Saints had their fair share of the ball, with one more assists (18-17) and steals (6-5), as well as more blocks (6-1) and less turnovers (10-13), leading to an even share of the points from turnovers (11-11), but the Saints produced more points off the bench (17-9).

It was an even team performance from the Hawks, with Devondrick Walker (20 points, four rebounds) marginally winning the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award from the match, shooting four of seven from long-range. Hyrum Harris (18 points, seven rebounds and four assists) was not far behind, whilst Rhys Vague (15 points, three rebounds and two assists), Derone Raukawa (14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Ethan Rusbatch (12 points, five rebounds and three assists).

For the Saints, Tohi Smith-Milner top-scored with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, whilst the long-range shooting deadeye of Taane Samuel managed four of five from beyond the arc to finish with 14 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Kerwin Roach Jr (18 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Dion Prewster (14 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals) also impressed from the starting team, while Leon Henry contributed all the team’s bench points with 17 – five of nine from three-point range – as well as seven rebounds and four blocks in the loss.

The Otago Nuggets silenced the crowd early on a night where the Nelson Giants were celebrating 40 years in the competition, piling on 31 points to 19 in the opening term, then 23-18 in the second quarter to lead by 17 points at the main break. The home team sprung to life in the second half, winning it 47-40, but it was a case of too little, too late, with the visitors getting up by 10 points, 94-84.

Otago shot the lights out with 56 per cent of their attempts from the field going in, compared to the Giants’ 34 per cent. What made it all the more impressive was that the Nuggets had 25 less shots, but nailed four more than their opponents, including the same amount of triples (11) despite 19 less attempts (21-40). They also won the rebounds (43-41), assists (23-15) and blocks (5-0), and had more points in the paint (40-28). The Giants committed less turnovers (10-20) and therefore had more points from turnovers (22-12), as well as more second chance points (16-13) and steals (10-4).

Isaiah Moss won MVP with 24 points – five of nine from long-range – eight rebounds, two assists and two steals to lead the way, whilst Gerasimos McKay picked up 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists on the night. Sam Timmins continued his hot streak with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds – 11 defensive – as well as five assists, two steals and two blocks, while Richie Rodger had the 11 points, seven assists and two rebounds.

For the Giants, Hunter Hale had 21 points, five assists, five steals and two rebounds, just ahead of Sam Dempster (19 points, seven rebounds and two assists) Thomas Ingham (11 points, four rebounds) also hit double-figure points from the starting line-up, whilst Nic Trathen contributed his usual long-range shooting from the bench with three of five going in from long-range on his way to 13 points and three rebounds.

Wellington Saints front up tonight up against the Taranaki Mountainairs, whilst the Hawkes Bay Hawks take on Manawatu Jets tomorrow, whilst the Otago Nuggets also play then against Franklin Bulls. The Nelson Giants have an extended break until lJune 25 when they lock horns with the Saints.

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Giants deflate Airs with big win on Queen’s Birthday

NELSON Giants have produced a commanding performance to defeat Taranaki Mountainairs by 14 points on a Queens Birthday afternoon clash in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) competition. After going down to Manawatu Jets by one point in their last encounter, the Giants started strongly and never looked back, dominating the Airs to run out 100-86 winners at the Trafalgar Centre.

Nelson took control from the first tip-off, putting on 29 points to 16 in the opening term, before going out to a 22-point half-time lead. With a commanding 57-35 advantage heading into the third term, the Giants found the going a little tougher after getting out to as much as a 34-point lead. Taranaki Mountainairs roared to life to outscore the Giants by 20 points in the run home, being competitive in a high-scoring third term, before winning the last quarter 27-14. It was a case of too little, too late however, as Nelson got the win.

The Giants nailed 16 triples to 11 in the match, and whilst their shooting efficiency was lower (46 to 50 per cent) from the field, they made up for it with a high volume of shot, putting up 38 of 81 compared to 34 of 67. They also won the rebounds (44-34), assists (24-20) and steals (12-8). With less turnovers (12-19), they capitalised on points from turnovers (33-22), and also had more second chance points (18-12) and bench points (40-16). The Airs had an extra two blocks (4-2), more points in the paint (42-36) and less personal fouls (15-17).

Donte Ingram (22 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists) lead the way, teaming up well with Hunter Hale who had 20 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals. Ingram dropped five of six from long-range in a three-point scoring clinic, as Tyler Marsh had four from four off the bench for eight points and two assists, whilst Riley Bensemann hit both his three-point attempts for six points and two rebounds. Sam Dempster (five points, seven rebounds), Anzac Risetto (eight points, three rebounds and two assists) and Nic Trathen (10 points, two rebounds) all contributed in an even team performance across the board.

For Taranaki Mountainairs, Marcel Jones again carried the team, putting up 32 points – including four of nine from long-range – as well as six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Tai Wynyard played a support role with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists, whilst Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape had 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Carlin Davison (nine points, eight rebounds and five assists) was the other lively player, with support from Haize Walker (six points, four assists and three rebounds) and Francis Mulvihill (six points, two rebounds and two assists).

Taranaki Mountainairs next play on Sunday against Canterbury Rams, as the Nelson Giants wait until June 18 in an 11-day break before hosting the Otago Nuggets.

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Giants and Nuggets secure nail-biting wins as Sharks deflate Airs

TWO absolutely thrilling contests and one blowout were the summation of last night’s triple treat of New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) contests. Both the Nelson Giants and Otago Nuggets claimed victories in tight battles over Hawkes Bay Hawks and Auckland Huskies respectively, whilst the Southland Sharks showed no mercy in a 42-point hiding of Taranaki Mountainairs.

In a tight see-sawing contest, Nelson Giants came up trumps despite a third term fightback from Hawkes Bay Hawks to win by three points, 112-109. After the teams were level at quarter time, Nelson piled on 32 points to 26 to take a six-point half-time lead, before the Hawks hit back with a 29-25 third stanza to cut the final break difference to two points. A tight final term saw the lead change nine times, before the Giants sunk 11 of the last 17 points to grab the win.

Hunter Hale made it rain with another ridiculous performance of 41 points – four of nine from long-range – as well as seven assists and three steals. Sam Dempster (19 points, five rebounds and three assists), Thomas Ingham (17 points, five rebounds and two assists), Donte Ingram (11 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Nic Trathen (12 points, five rebounds) were the other key scorers for the winners.

The Hawks’ starting five had plenty of say in the contest, lead once again by Hyrum Harris who had 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, sharing the load of scoring with long-range shooter Devondrick Walker (25 points, five assists and two rebounds). Ethan Rusbatch (23 points, six rebounds), Derone Raukawa (16 points, two rebounds) and Jonathan Janssen (13 points, six rebounds and five assists) were also busy.

The other thriller saw Otago Nuggets come from behind to defeat Auckland Huskies and hand their opponents a second consecutive loss for the round. The Nuggets trailed by two points at quarter time, hit the front by four points at the main break, then lead by six heading into the last quarter. Whilst the Huskies returned serve with 21 points to 17 in the final term, they fell two points short as the visitors saluted, 73-71.

Sam Timmins was again a difficult man to stop in the paint, knocking down 21 points and eight rebounds, whilst Gerasimos McKay (12 points, 10 rebounds and two assists) picked up a double-double. Isaiah Moss (14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Josh Aitcheson (12 points, six rebounds) also stood tall in the victory.

For the Huskies, Chris Johnson top-scored on court with 22 points and 11 rebounds in a sensational double-double. Brook Ruscoe-Taiaroa (11 points, three rebounds and three steals) and Chris McIntosh (10 points, three rebounds and three steals) both reached double-digit points, while Zach Riley (nine points, seven assists) tried hard all night.

The sole blowout of the night was Southland Sharks’ massive 42-point shellacking of Taranaki Mountainairs. The Sharks never looked like losing, winning every quarter by at least seven points, racing out to a 16-point advantage after one quarter. From there, the lead increased to 25, 35 and 42 at each break before the final buzzer proved a salvation for the disappointing Airs who were not match for the outstanding Sharks.

Dom Kelman-Poto (22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals) lead the way, sharing the scoring load with Toby Gillooly (22 points, four rebounds and two steals) and Brayden Inger (21 points, six rebounds and two steals). Courtney Belger (14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals) did a bit of everything on the night, while Josh Cunningham (eight points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals) was ultra-impressive.

Marcel Jones was again the standout talent for the Airs, notching up 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks, as he and Tai Wynyard (13 points, four rebounds and two assists) took the load for the majority of the scoring. Baxter Fenwick and Carlin Davison both finished with nine points, as Davison also notched up six rebounds, two assists and two steals having an impact off the bench in a losing team.

Hawkes Bay Hawks and Southland Sharks are the first teams to have the quick turnaround, playing tonight against Canterbury Rams and Manawatu Jets in away clashes. The Nelson Giants host the Jets on June 3, with the Taranaki Mountainairs and Auckland Huskies facing off on June 4. The Otago Nuggets have the longest break of the six sides, hosting the Sharks on June 5.

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Jets break winless drought as Sharks take care of Giants

MANAWATU Jets are on the board in the 2021 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) season after downing Taranaki Mountainairs by eight points, while Southland Sharks took advantage of a weary Nelson Giants outfit to post a nine-point victory in the other game last night. In two exciting contests, both results were determined in very different ways, with the Jets storming home in the last term, whilst the Sharks held on despite a dominant final quarter from the Giants.

The Jets lead at quarter time by four points over the Airs, before Taranaki hit back with a dominant 29-19 second term to grab the advantage by six points at the main break. Manawatu clawed its way back to a four-point deficit at the final break, before a 19-7 final term resulted in the Jets’ defence standing up and helping the home fans leave pleased with a 85-77 victory.

The Jets shot at a 50 per cent clip from the field compared to the Airs’ 45 per cent, though the visitors lead the rebounds (40-32), assists (14-12) and second chance points (12-7). Manawatu took control in the paint (42-34 points), as well as points from turnovers (21-10) despite just the one less turnover. They also marginally won the steals (11-9) and blocks (3-2) in the process.

Daishon Knight top-scored with 20 points, four assists and three rebounds, as Deandre Daniels managed the 16 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. All eyes were on developing talent Jake McKinlay however, as the 20-year-old knocked down 15 points – three of six from long-range – and picked up a whopping seven steals, seven rebounds and two assists in the process. Jayden Bezzant (11 points, four rebounds) and Nikau McCullough (nine points, four rebounds and two assists) were the other scorers for the Jets.

Marcel Jones had a typical double-double game of 23 points – including three of eight from long-range – and 15 rebounds, as well as two assists and two steals. Tai Wynyard (14 points, 10 rebounds) had a double-double of his own, while Haize Walker managed the 16 points- 12 of which came from three-point range with four of seven attempts – as well as four assists and two steals. Off the bench, Carlin Davison (seven points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals) was the most prominent of the Airs players.

Southland Sharks did all their best work in the first three quarters, taking control of play particularly in the middle two quarters to set up the nine-point win over Nelson Giants. The Sharks lead by two points at quarter time, but a 30-20 second term blew that lead right out to 12 by half-time. Another dominant showing of 29-18 in the third stanza meant the difference was an unassailable 23-point advantage, before the Giants hit back with a 28-14 final term to add some consolation points and cut the final deficit to nine, 101-92.

The Sharks were the more accurate shooters from teh field, primarily 54 per cent from two-point range compared to the Giants’ 43 per cent. The stats were almost identical across the board, with the Sharks having one more rebound (38-37), and the Giants having one more steal (9-8) and block (4-3), whilst the assists were tied at 21-apiece. It was in the paint where the Sharks took control, scoring 44 points to 22, the ultimate difference in the game. The Giants scored almost half of their points off the bench with 45-13 thanks to rotations.

Brayden Inger put on a show for the Sharks, shooting six of 11 from three-point range on his way to 27 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Dom Kelman-Poto (22 points, eight rebounds and four assists) and Courtney Belger (19 points, nine assists and four steals) also racked up the numbers in a big way. Alonzo Burton helped himself to the 14 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Josh Cunningham (six points, five rebounds) and Sione Helu (seven points, three rebounds) were also busy.

For the Giants, Hunter Hale had 18 points, three assists and two rebounds, sharing the starters load with Donte Ingram (15 points, three rebounds and two assists). The bulk of the scoring off the bench came from Nic Trathen (17 points – five of 11 from long-range – and six rebounds) and Bronson Beri (16 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals).

In the upcoming matches, Nelson Giants host Hawkes Bay Hawks and Taranaki Mountainairs lock horns with Southland Sharks both on Saturday, while the Manawatu Jets host the Sharks on Sunday evening.

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Double delight for NZNBL as three-point thrillers leave crowds on edge of their seats

TWO absolute thrillers left crowds on the edge of their seats in both Otago and Canterbury, with the Nelson Giants and Canterbury Rams winning their respective New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) matches against Otago Nuggets and Franklin Bulls. In what was a coincidental moment, both games finished with the score at 89-86, though the Nuggets-Giants clash needed an overtime period to decide the result.

In the overtime thriller, Nelson Giants started strongly to race out to an eight-point quarter time lead, then built on that to put up a 14-point buffer at the half. Just when it looked like the visitors were going to run away with the contest, the Nuggets roared to life and piled on 21 points to 13 in the third. That cut the deficit back to six points, and in a counter contrasting second half to first half, scored 14 more points all-up compared to their opponents.

Despite drawing level at the final buzzer courtesy of an Isaiah Moss fade away triple in the final 30 seconds, and Sam Timmins handing his side a two-point lead to begin overtime, the Giants scored five of the last six points when the teams were level at 84-apiece to win by just the three, 89-86. The Nuggets actually shot more effectively with 51 per cent of their attempts from the field going in (compared to the Giants’ 41 per cent), whilst they also had more rebounds (43-42), assists (18-10) and points in the paint (52-36), whilst the Giants had more steals (13-5) and less turnovers (11-17), punishing their opponents from turnovers (27-7).

Hunter Hale was far and away best on court with 41 points for the Giants, dropping six of 13 from long-range, as well as picking up nine rebounds, five steals and three steals. Donte Ingram (17 points, three rebounds and five steals) and Nic Trathen (15 points, four rebounds) also had plenty of it, whilst Sam Dempster (11 rebounds) had plenty of impact off the boards.

Moss (21 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Gerasimos McKay (21 points, seven rebounds and three assists) shared the top-scoring duties, whilst Timmins dominated off the boards with 14 rebounds – 12 defensive – to go with 18 points and eight rebounds. Richie Rodger (11 points, three rebounds) and Josh Aitcheson (seven points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals) were the others who stood out in defeat.

Meanwhile in the other match, Canterbury Rams managed to overpower Franklin Bulls with a dominant second half. It was a similar match to the Nuggets-Giants, with one team taking control in the first half, before the other team swung the momentum back in their favour for the second half. On this occasion it was the Bulls who raced out to an 11-point half-time lead, which did not prove enough as the Rams poured on 50 points to 36 in the second half to pip them at the post. They did lead by six with 25 seconds left, but the last three points went the way of the Bulls to cut the final margin to three, 89-86.

The Rams proved to be more effective shooting with 43 per cent from the field – including 34 per cent from long-range – compared to the Bulls’ 38 per cent, whilst the Rams also lead the rebounds (46-42), assists (19-9) and points in the paint (38-28). The Bulls won the steals (10-6) and blocks, and also had a remarkable 19 less personal fouls (12-31), but could not get the job done.

Deshon Taylor knocked down 35 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the win, but it was EJ Singler (17 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals) who almost picked up a triple-double in a complete performance. Sam Smith (12 points, 10 rebounds and two steals) managed a double-double, whilst Quintin Bailey (12 points, five rebounds) was also busy for the Rams.

Josh Selby was a lone-hand for the Bulls, knocking down a remarkable 42 points in a bid to drag his team across the line, whilst also recording seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Zane Waterman (19 points, 14 rebounds and four assists) had a double-double and Jaylen Gerrand (10 points, four rebounds) also reached double-figure points in the loss.

Nelson Giants have the quickest turnaround of the four teams, playing their third game of the round tomorrow against Southland Sharks, whilst the Franklin Bulls and Otago Nuggets go head-to-head on Thursday night. Canterbury Rams have an extended break until May 30, when they host Hawkes Bay Hawks.

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Saints reign supreme again, while Nuggets win grand final rematch in overtime

WELLINGTON Saints remained the benchmark team of the competition last night with a 26-point victory over Nelson Giants at TSB Bank Arena last night, whilst over at the Fly Palmy Central Energy Trust Arena, Otago Nuggets needed overtime to take home the points against a plucky Manawatu Jets outfit in the grand final rematch.

In the thrilling overtime victory, Otago Nuggets raced out to an early lead against the winless Jets, posting a 23-19 first term and 21-16 second quarter to lead by nine points at half-time. The second half was a reverse of the first, as the Jets started to build momentum to win the third term 26-21 and the final quarter 19-15 to be level by the final buzzer. In fact, if it was not for a buzzer-beater from the Nuggets’ Isaiah Moss at the end of the fourth quarter, then the Jets would have taken home the win.

With 3:37 left in the last quarter, the Jets – courtesy of a Daishon Knight triple – led by seven points, 80-73. What the Nuggets pulled off over the next three and a half minutes was remarkable, as the Jets could not hit a shot, and the Nuggets, through Moss, Sam Timmins and Gerasimos McKay levelled the score out of nowhere to force the game into overtime. The momentum carried into the extra period, with nine of the first 12 points going the way of the visitors, making it 16 of the last 19 points up until the final 90 seconds. From there, the Nuggets answered each Jets basket, and got the win, 92-85.

Otago Nuggets had the higher overall field goal percentage with 46 per cent from the field, though the bulk of their shots came from inside the arc (57 to 44 per cent), whilst the Jets’ success came from beyond it (33 to 23 per cent). The Nuggets won the rebounds (51-47), blocks (4-3), points in the paint (64-36) and second chance points (10-7), really taking control inside. The Jets had six less personal fouls (13-19) and were better with ball-in-hand thanks to 15 assists to 12 and eight steals to five.

Timmins was absolutely ridiculous with 29 points and 25 rebounds – 20 defensive – to really stand up in the crunch moments, collecting three assists and two blocks as well. Moss had the 19 points and 10 rebounds in another double-double effort, whilst McKay (10 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Richie Rodger (16 points, two rebounds) both made double-figure points.

For the Jets, Deandre Daniels had an impressive double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds, whilst Shane Temara had the 12 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in an all-round effort. Three-point machine Nikau McCulloch hit five of eight from long-range for 15 of his 19 total points to come from that region. Knight (18 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals) also put up a big total, and Jake McKinlay (six points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists) was influential off the boards.

In the more one-sided contest, it took a half to separate the sides, but when the game broke open, Wellington Saints were unstoppable. The teams went into the first two breaks unable to be split, with the Saints and Nelson Giants both scoring 19 and 20 points in those respective terms to be 39-apiece at half-time. After that though, it was all the Saints, piling on 56-30 in a complete domination, scoring 34 points in the third term to almost equal their first half score in half the time, for the 95-69 victory.

The Saints had a far greater efficiency from the field (51 to 35 per cent, and nailed 13 triples to the Giants’ eight, whilst easily winning the rebound (46-32), assist (20-10) and block (8-1) counts. They took control in the paint with 38 points to 30, and whilst the Giants had more second chance points (11-7), the Saints had more points from turnovers (21-18) and off their bench (27-15).

Taane Samuel scored the most points in the Saints’ win, picking up 24 (eight from 10 from the field including five of seven from long-range), four rebounds and three assists. Dion Prewster (14 points, four assists and three rebounds), Kerwin Roach Jr (12 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals) and Tohi Smith-Milner (10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five blocks) were everywhere for the top of the table side. Ken Tuffin (seven points, 10 rebounds and three steals) was the most influential off the bench.

For the Giants, Hunter Hale racked up 26 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assts, while Donte Ingram (14 points, three rebounds) also contributed to the cause. Coming off the bench, Nic Trathen had the 11 points, while Thomas Ingham (six points, three rebounds and two assists) was also solid despite the loss. Sam Dempster only had the two points, but picked up a team-high nine rebounds, as well as two steals in defeat.

Both the Nelson Giants and Otago Nuggets have a quick turnaround with matches tonight, as the Giants travel to face the Hawkes Bay Hawks, while the Nuggets also hit the road in order to clash with Taranaki Mountainairs. The Wellington Saints host Franklin Bulls on May 20, whilst the Manawatu Jets have an extended break until May 23 where they host the Taranaki Mountainairs.

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Kendle match-winner keeps Huskies undefeated in overtime

JEREMY Kendle had a night to remember during Auckland Huskies’ thrilling three-point win over Nelson Giants last night, needing to go all the way, and then some before posting a 90-87 victory at Eventfinda Stadium. The Huskies prevailed in a tough contest that saw them win three of the four quarters, but still only be level at the final buzzer, before getting up in a low-scoring nail-bitting first overtime period by three points.

The home team got the upper hand in the match early, leading 18-15 at the first break to take the advantage. Nelson Giants produced one of the biggest turnarounds of the season in the second period, piling on 35 points to 20 to head into half-time with a huge 12-point lead. The momentum swung back into the Huskies’ favour in the third quarter thanks to a 26-7 term, before the frantic final term. In the last 30 seconds, Chris Johnson nailed two free throws to put the Huskies in front, before Nelson’s Donte Ingram levelled the scores with 18 seconds on the clock.

Johnson had a look from long-range with six seconds on the clock only to miss, before an offensive rebound to Sean Murphy handed off to Kendle from three-point range on the buzzer missed. The last five minutes of action was frantic, with only 13 points scored in total for the match. Ingram hit the first three-point of the period 1:05 into the time to help the Giants to lead by that exact margin. Dontae Nance responded not long after with a neat layup, but both Bronson Beri and Johnson missed jump shots, then Ingram missed both free throw attempts after being sent to the line.

When Brook Ruscoe-Taiaroa finally troubled the scorers after the drought in the overtime, his one free throw levelled the scores. Ingram was again the man the Giants turned to with a pull up jumper after collecting the defensive rebound up the other end, and the visitors were up by two with 1:04 on the clock. Johnson tied the game with a layup with 37 seconds remaining, and then another Ingram miss saw Zach Riley grab the board, and the Huskies use the lock to the last second and Kendle nailed the match-winner from long-range. Hunter Hale went for the three-point jumper on the buzzer, but a block from Kendle sealed the game.

The Huskies dominated the stats sheet, leading in their field goal percentage (46 to 44 per cent) largely due to a more efficient effort from long-range (44 to 37 per cent), but really took control in the free throws (81 to 61 per cent). They won the rebounds (41-37), assists (19-16), blocks (4-2) and second chance points (10-9), and also had four less personal fouls (13-17). The Giants to their credit had less turnovers (12-18), and double the steals (10-5). They also doubled their opponents in points from turnovers (26-13) and secured more points in the paint (32-30).

Kendle won Player of the Match for his terrific work late in the contest, also finishing with 23 points, seven assists and three rebounds, though also eight turnovers. Johnson was the standout shooter on the court with 30 points, 12 rebounds and two assists, while Ruscoe-Taiaroa (13 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals) and Murphy (10 points, five rebounds) also hit double-figure points for the winners.

Hale finished with a match-high 32 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Ingram had 23 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Both Giants shooters hit four triples out of nine and eight attempts respectively. Thomas Ingram and Alexander McNaught had the next most points with seven, while Beri had six rebounds, three assists and two steals to go with five points. Sam Dempster did not score in the match, but picked up nine rebounds – four offensive – as well as three assists.

Auckland Huskies play the next match in the NZNBL which is on Friday night when they travel to face Canterbury Rams, while the Nelson Giants will take on Wellington Saints and Hawke’s Bay Hawks back-to-back making it three consecutive undefeated sides for their fixtures.

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Hawks, Nuggets and Giants secure wins in Saturday night triple treat

THERE was no shortage of available basketball around in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) last night, with three clashes taking pace across the country. Hawke’s Bay Hawks handed Southland Sharks their second consecutive loss, as the Otago Nuggets sent the Manawatu Jets to 0-4, and Nelson Giants grabbed their first win of the season with a victory on the road against the Franklin Bulls.

Starting off at the Pettigrew Arena, Hawke’s Bay Hawks kept in touch with the top of the table Wellington Saints by remaining undefeated this season thanks to a victory over Southland Sharks. The Hawks started strongly to lead by two points at the first break and then nine at half-time. By the final break the home team had blown the lead out to 16, and while the Sharks had cut the eventual deficit back to 12 with a spirited final term, it would not be enough.

Derone Raukawa was the star, earning Player of the Match honours thanks to 28 points, five assists and three rebounds, while Jonathan Janssen was enormous off the boards, racking up a massive double-double of 11 points, 15 rebounds and two assists. Devondrick Walker (16 points, two rebounds and two steals) and Everard Bartlett (14 points, three rebounds) also hit double-figure points, and Hyrum Harris (nine points, eight rebounds) and Ethan Rusbatch (seven points, four rebounds and two assists) also contributed on the scoreboard.

Josh Cunningham was the star for the Sharks once again, knocking down 21 points – including all three attempts from long-range – as well as 11 rebounds. Dom Kelman-Poto (14 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Alonzo Burton (14 points, two steals) both hit the scoreboard well, while Courtney Belger (seven points, two rebounds) and Toby Gilloolly (five points two rebounds and three steals) were also steadfast in defeat.

The Hawks next play the Nelson Giants next Sunday night, while the Sharks travel to Franklin to take on the Bulls on Friday night.

Otago Nuggets grabbed their second win of the season with the reigning premiers stringing back-to-back victories since an opening night loss to Wellington Saints, knocking off Manawatu Jets to sentence them to their fourth consecutive defeat. The Nuggets dominated the opening term to race out to a 25-12 lead at quarter time. An explosive high-scoring second quarter saw the Jets slam home 37 points to 29 to cut the deficit to five points, before the Nuggets again took control to win the third term 29-20 and hold a 14-point advantage with a quarter to play. Refusing to throw the towel in, the Jets kept fighting and scored 27-25, but would fall short to the Nuggets, 108-96.

Isaiah Moss was named Player of the Match, putting on a shooting clinic with seven of 13 long-range attempts dropping as he went on his merry way for 33 points in 33 minutes, as well as seven rebounds and three steals for the Nuggets. Sam Timmins crashed the boards and set up the offence on his way to a double-double and almost triple-double of 23 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks, while Gerasimos McKay (18 points, five rebounds) also stood strong. Josh Aitcheson (10 points) hit double-figure points starting, while Darcy Knox (11 points, six rebounds) came off the bench to have an impact in 19 minutes.

For the Jets, Daishon Knight scored 29 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists, creating a damaging tag-team with Jayden Bezzant (23 points, four assists and three rebounds). Shane Temara (14 points, 15 rebounds) had enormous impact off the boards, while Jake McKinlay (13 points, eight rebounds and two steals) and Deandre Daniels (seven points, seven rebounds) also did well. The Jets will now have to tweak some things before a fixture quirk sees them taking on the Otago Nuggets again in their next game on Saturday night, but this time they return to their home court.

In the third game on the night up at Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre, Nelson Giants proved too strong for Franklin Bulls, getting up by 13 points in a four-quarter performance. The Giants won three of the four quarters, but most of the damage was done early, racing out to a nine-point lead after one quarter of play. They extended it to 12 by half-time, and whilst the teams were fairly even in the second half, the Bulls could not make inroads further and went down, 107-94.

Hunter Hale won Player of the Match honours with 26 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and five steals in an outstanding performance that almost netted him a triple-double. He was one of five Giants players to hit double-figure points as the starters all shared the load. Donte Ingram (19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists) picked up a double-double, Thomas Ingram (15 points, four rebounds and two assists) contributed across multiple facets, while Anzac Risetto (14 points, two rebounds) and Sam Dempster (13 points, four rebounds) were both busy.

For the Bulls, Josh Selby continued his remarkable start to the season playing every minute in the loss and put up 36 points – including six of 11 from three-point range – along with six rebounds and four assists. Zane Waterman had a double-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and two assists, while Jaylen Gerrand came off the bench for 10 points, two rebounds and two assists. Others contributed in small parts, but it was the duo of Selby and Waterman who really stepped up to the plate in the loss.

The Bulls next host the Southland Sharks on Friday night, with the Giants not having much time to recover, taking on Auckland Huskies tonight, before a clash with another undefeated side in the Wellington Saints next Saturday night.

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

Sharks bite hard for final quarter frenzy

SOUTHLAND Sharks returned to the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) in style, posting a 19-point win over last year’s wooden spooners, Nelson Giants. The teams were engaged in a tight battle throughout the first half, but eventually the visitors overwhelmed their opponents, smelling blood in the water in the final term to blow out an eight-point advantage at three quarter time to win, 84-65.

The first quarter was neck-and-neck as Giants’ Sam Dempster hit a three-pointer in the opening 13 seconds on the game, which was matched by Sharks’ Dom Kelman-Poto‘s long-range success not long after. There was not much between the teams all term, as a Brayden Inger triple late in the quarter put the lead out to five, before Nicholas Trathen picked up a board off his own floating jump shot to produced a clean layup and cut the Giants’ deficit to three at the first break.

Inger was quick out of the blocks with yet another triple as the long-range makes were hitting their mark, and the Sharks’ ability to counter any two-point response with a triple was building their lead ever so slightly. Five consecutive points from Donte Ingram reduced the deficit to just two points after two minutes in the quarter, but this time it would be back-to-back triples from Toby Gillooly off two assists from Tom Cowie, who punished the home side and the lead was out to a game-high eight points.

Each time the Giants would close in, the Sharks would find a way to keep them at arms-length. Neither team could seemingly score for the midpoint of the quarter, and at one point, there were six consecutive free throws between the sides, and the Giants drew to within two points at the 1:48 mark. The exciting Alonzo Burton quickly put a stop to that with a floating jump shot, but nonetheless the four-point margin at half-time had the teams delicately poised.

The scoring woes continued through the third term, which just 22 combined points scored – 13-9 in favour of the Giants – after there had been 39 points scored in the first and second terms. Similar to the first two quarters, the Giants drew to within three points with two minutes on the clock, but missed chances from the home team saw the Sharks score six of the last seven points to increase the lead out to eight the final change.

The last stanza was counter contrasting to the low-scoring scrap of the third, as the Sharks led loose from the get-go. Aside from a Hunter Hale response in the first 20 seconds, the Sharks piled on 10 of the first 12 points for a 16-point lead by the 8:14 minute mark. From there, they were never headed despite the best efforts of the Giants, as the lead stretched out to its final margin by midway through the term, and even ticked over to the 22 points in the final two minutes. To the Giants credit, they scored seven of the last 11 points, but it would be too little, too late as the damage was done in the first few minutes of the quarter.

In a real even team performance where six players hit double-figure points, Josh Cunningham earned Player of the Match honours with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Inger topped the scorers for the Sharks with 15 points, four assists and four rebounds, while Courtney Belger had 14 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Gillooly (12 points, three points), Kelman-Poto (11 points, seven rebounds) and Sione Helu (10 points, two assists) were the others to hit double-figure points.

For the Giants, Donte Ingram was the standout shooter, putting up 20 points for his side, as well as six rebounds and three assists, while Tom Ingram also managed the nine points and three rebounds. Dempster was lively off the boards and close to a double-double thanks to nine points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Hale had the eight points, six rebounds and three assists.

Southland Sharks play this Friday night against Canterbury Rams back at home at the TSB Bank Arena, while the Giants have an extended break until Round 2 when they lock horns with the Franklin Bulls on Saturday, May 8.

Picture credit: NZNBL

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #17 – Mike Karena (Nelson Giants)

IN our newest countdown series wrapping up the 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL) Showdown, we look at our top 20 players that took to the court this year. While it was an incredibly difficult list to create, we have had a mix of pure domination, defensive efforts and eye-catchers to form this list.

#17 MIKE KARENA

The first person on our list that features in the top 15 for both points and rebounds is Nelson Giants’ center, Karena. The big man defies the usual role of a five to some regard because of his ability to shoot from long range. Now he is obviously much more adept at getting close to the basket or dropping inside jumpers, but he is not afraid to make the jump shot when necessary and can release well without having to force his way to the rim.

Karena finished the season for the league’s bottom team as a shining light, ranking equal 10th in points (17.5) and equal 15th in rebounds (5.6). His two-point percentage was strong at 54.2 per cent, but his clear deficiency is still from the charity stripe, sinking just 55.9 per cent of his points, which is why the jump shot has become so crucial for him. He is able to get a fair chunk of offensive rebounds, with 1.7 per game a healthy number, showing a capability to work hard on both ends.

The former Canterbury Rams big man had a delayed start to the season, missing the first two games before returning for the final game of week on against Manawatu Jets. He picked up 17 points, six rebounds and shot at 50 per cent from the field, also draining a triple on the night. His next two games he continued his huge start to the season, averaging 26.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and shooting at 71.4 per cent from the field. He only made two more triples for the rest of the season – in the last two games – but his accuracy was crucial throughout the season.

Not quite hitting the 30-point milestone, Karena went berserk against Otago Nuggets in the final round. With the Nuggets resting some of their top stars in the second half, Karena had a big night out with 26 points, three rebounds, three assists and hitting 75 per cent of his field goals from just 17 minutes of action.

The big question mark for Karena is whether or not he remains at the Giants or heads back to Canterbury Rams where they would have loved to have had him in the 2020 season. Either way, the big man certainly provided some great consistency in his 12 games, not dipping below 10 points once.

STATS:

Points: 17.5
Rebounds: 5.6
Assists: 1.9
Steals: 0.6
FG%: 53.4
2P%: 54.2
3P%: 37.5
FT%: 55.9
Minutes: 23.3