Tag: taranaki mountainairs

Title contenders claim big wins in one-sided night of action

TITLE contenders Southland Sharks and Wellington Saints have established their top two positions on the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) ladder, with big wins in their respective matches overnight. The top placed Sharks won the first three quarters to take complete control over Franklin Bulls on their way to a 101-69 triumph, whilst the Saints bounced back from a loss to Hawke’s Bay Hawks last start, to win 89-63 in their home clash and retake the second spot Hawke’s Bay had snatched from them.

Southland Sharks did all the damage early, piling on 32 points to 15, leaving the visiting Bulls on the back foot from the start, then added 21-15 in the second term to lead by 23 points at the main break. Needing a spark in the second half, the Bulls could not find it until the final term – which they won by two points – as the Sharks added another 29 points to 18 in the third, leading to the eventual 32-point victory, 101-69.

The Sharks won every statistic in the book, from field goal shooting percentage (47 to 36 per cent), rebounds (52-41), assists (20-17) and steals (13-6). They had seven less turnovers (15-22) and therefore more points from turnovers (25-18), and also had more points in the paint (46-32), second chance points (22-7) and bench points (33-22).

Josh Cunningham piled on 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in the win, as he grabbed the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from the match. Not far behind him was Courtney Belger (13 points, six assists and four steals) who also impressed, while Brayden Inger had the 18 points – four of eight from long-range – and six rebounds. Alonzo Burton (11 points, four rebounds) and Sione Helu (10 points, three assists and two rebounds) also hit double-figure points, while Toby Gillooly came close to a double-double of nine points and nine rebounds.

For the Bulls, Manel Ayol was the star with 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, with a couple of fellow recent additions since the completion of the ANBL season also holding their own. Isaac Davidson (11 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Kyrin Galloway (eight points, 12 rebounds and two steals) both tried hard, whilst the Bulls’ old firm – being there since the start of the season – in Denhym Brooke (nine points, five rebounds and three blocks) also worked well in tandem.

Wellington Saints had an equally comprehensive win over Taranaki Mountainairs in a top-against-bottom clash at TSB Bank Arena. The Saints won every quarter in the match, starting off strongly to race to a 47-28 lead at the main break, then won the second half by seven points to claim a 26-point victory, 89-63.

The Saints were the more accurate of the sides (45 to 40 per cent field goal accuracy), also knocking down 11 three-pointers to six. They had more rebounds (48-28), assists (15-10) and steals (12-6), with the Airs winning the blocks (4-1). Wellington finished with more points in the paint (44-28), second chance points (14-7), points from turnovers (24-15) and bench points (34-20) in a real dominant effort.

It was incredibly difficult for judges to select an MVP from the match with seven players earning between six and three votes. In the end, captain Dion Prewster got the nod in the Saints’ winning performance, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists. Tohi Smith-Milner (15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists), Kerwin Roach Jr (13 points, five assists and three rebounds), Leon Henry (13 points, 11 rebounds and two steals) and Ezrah Vaigafa (11 points, six rebounds) all picked up votes in an even team performance. Ken Tuffin was another one who contributed strongly with 13 points and six rebounds.

Tai Wynyard tried his hardest for the Airs with 15 points, four rebounds and two steals, grabbing MVP votes in the heavy loss with Baxter Fenwick (10 points, two rebound) Marcel Jones had a quieter night, only shooting two of nine from the field on his way to 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Francis Mulvihill (seven points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals) was the other player who did his best in the loss.

Both the losers will have to regroup themselves for matches today as Franklin Bulls and Taranaki Mountainairs both hit the road to take on Otago Nuggets and Canterbury Rams respectively. The Wellington Saints take on Nelson Giants next Friday night, with Southland Sharks hosting Auckland Huskies on the Saturday night.

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

Rams deflate Airs early as Saints produce record-breaking third term

TWO separate stunning single quarter efforts from Canterbury Rams and Wellington Saints proved to be the difference in their respective New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) clashes overnight. The Rams deflated the Taranaki Mountainairs in the opening term with a 37-point quarter to all but suck the life out of the contest on the road on their way to an 18-point win, whilst the Saints blew the Manawatu Jets away in the third quarter with a dominant 43-point term to win by 23 points.

Canterbury Rams powered to an 18-point advantage at quarter time courtesy of a stunning 37-point first term, which ultimately proved the difference between the sides. The Rams pushed it out to 20 points at the half, and whilst the Airs did win the third term, the visitors settled in the last to run out 103-85 winners, not losing control of the lead from the midpoint of the first term, and almost getting out to a 30-point advantage.

The Rams shot at an impressive 55 per cent from the field, ahead of the Airs’ 47 per cent, shooting a massive 12 triples from 26 attempts, as the home team struggled from long-range, converting just three of 19. Taranaki also won the assists (23-18) and steals (17-13) in a high turnover game as the teams combined for 53 turnovers (27-26 towards the Rams). The Rams had 28 points from turnovers compared to the Airs’ 25, whilst also winning the bench points (22-18). Taranaki won the rebounds (36-33), blocks (4-2), points in the paint (56-42) and second chance points (17-8).

EJ Singler produced arguably the best performances of the season for the Rams, not missing a single shot from 16 field goals attempts for a massive 41 points – six triples – as well as nine assists, seven rebounds, three steals and no turnovers in a stunning effort. Deshon Taylor (20 points, five rebounds and five steals) chipped in, but by contrast had 10 turnovers. Alex Talma (12 points, five rebounds) and Mason Whittaker (10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals) also hit double-figure points.

For the Airs, Tai Wynyard topped the scoring with 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Marcel Jones notched up another double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Haize Walker (13 points, three rebounds), Carlin Davison (12 points, five rebounds and two assists), Francis Mulvihill (11 points, three steals and two assists) and Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape (11 points, three rebounds and three steals) all had double-figure points.

In the other match, the impressive Wellington Saints were well matched by the plucky Manawatu Jets for a half, before putting the foot down in the third term. Leading by just four points at half-time, the Saints stepped up the intensity for a stunning 43 points to 13 in the third term to blow it out to a game-high 34-point final break lead. The Jets to their credit did reel it in a little with a 30-19 term, but despite their strong finish could not cut the deficit back enough and the Saints won, 100-77.

The Saints were deadly from three-point range which was the difference, shooting at 41 per cent – 18 of 43 – to the Jets’ 28 per cent – eight of 28 – for a total efficiency of 47 to 45 per cent. They also lead the rebounds (45-32), assists (21-9), second chance points (16-14) and points from turnovers (19-13), and had three less turnovers (10-13). Manawatu won the steals (6-5), blocks (4-1) and bench points (32-23) and were at least impressive from inside the arc (20 of 34 for a 58 per cent efficiency).

Tohi Smith-Milner won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the night with 21 points – four of seven from long-range – nine rebounds and two assists. Kerwin Roach Jr also picked up a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Dion Prewster (16 points, eight assists and six assists), Ken Tuffin (15 points, two assists) and Taane Samuel (11 points, eight rebounds) also stood out in a really strong starting five performance for the Saints.

Daishon Knight was the clear best for the Jets, putting up 25 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in an all-round effort. Deandre Daniels hit 14 points, five rebounds and two assists, whilst coming off the bench, Nikau McCullough produced four of 10 from long-range for 16 points from 22 minutes, as well as four rebounds. Kalib Marsich-Mullins (10 points, two rebounds) also held his own in 20 minutes on court.

Canterbury Rams have a Thursday night road trip in a few days up against Auckland Huskies, whilst Wellington Saints take on Hawkes Bay Hawks on Friday night. In other matches, Taranaki Mountainairs then face the Saints on Saturday, before Manawatu Jets front up against the Hawks on Sunday.

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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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Sharks hand Saints first loss as Hawks and Huskies claim wins

IT was a triple treat of action in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) last night, as Southland Sharks became the first side to reach seven wins, downing the previously undefeated Wellington Saints to temporarily take top spot, while Hawkes Bay Hawks and Auckland Huskies both collected wins to remain in the top five. While the Sharks knocked off the Saints by 14 points, Hawkes Bay Hawks smashed Franklin Bulls by 37, and Auckland Huskies easily accounted for Taranaki Mountainairs by 22.

The Sharks came to play at ILT Stadium in front of home fans, proving themselves a title contender by racing out to a four-point lead at quarter time, which grew to 11 points by the main break. Wellington hit back in the third term to cut the deficit back to six with a quarter to play, before a dominant final term in favour of the Sharks (20-12) saw them run away with the 14-point victory, 84-70.

Dom Kelman-Poto racked up a massive double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds, as well as six assists on the night. Courtney Belger top-scored with 19 points, and had the seven assists, four rebounds and two steals in an all-round effort. Fellow starters, Alonzo Burton (15 points, five assists and five steals), Josh Cunningham (13 points, nine rebounds) and Brayden Inger (14 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals) all clocked in some serious minutes in the Sharks’ win.

Kerwin Roach Jr had a team-high 17 points for the visitors, also notching up seven rebounds and six assists, while Dion Prewster (11 points, eight rebounds and four assists) also came close to a double-double. Taane Samuel (13 points, three assists and two rebounds) was the other player to record double-digit points, while Tohi Smith-Milner (seven points, nine rebounds) and Ken Tuffin (eight points, four rebounds) were also solid despite the defeat.

In the biggest win of the night, Hawkes Bay Hawks easily accounted for Franklin Bulls, winning by 37 points on the road, 110-73. The Hawks put the foot down early with a dominant 33-10 first quarter, and whilst the Bulls managed to win the second term by four, were no match for the dominant Hawks, who went on to score 56 points to 38 in the second half, and consolidate a top three spot with a big win.

Ethan Rusbatch was sensational with a whopping eight of 13 from long-range to help him accumulate 27 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks in the victory. Derone Raukawa finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, and Jonathan Janssen came off the bench for 18 points and eight rebounds. Others who had no trouble scoring were Rhys Vague (15 points, five rebounds) and Jordan Hunt (15 points, six rebounds), while Devondrick Walker came agonisingly close to a triple-double of nine points, eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

In a disappointing night for the Bulls, Denhym Brooke still stood up with 17 points – five of 17 from three-point range – eight rebounds and three assists. Jett Thompson (12 points) and Dylan Wilkie (11) had their fair share of points, whilst Joseph Nunag (nine points, seven rebounds and two assists) and Zachary Easthope (nine points, five rebounds) were both solid in the loss.

In the third game of the night, Auckland Huskies posted a 22-point triumph over Taranaki Mountainairs. The Huskies won the first half by 11 points, to head into the main break with a 53-42 lead. The third term was even, but the visitors stepped it up a gear in the last quarter, pouring on 28 points to 17 to double their lead and win, 106-84.

Chris Johnson had a night out with 26 points – nailing all four three-point attempts – 11 rebounds – nine defensive – and five assists in a double-double effort. He was far from alone however, with two more players recording 19 points, and two more reaching 18. Coming off the bench, teenager Dontae Nance helped himself to 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, levelling with Takiula Fahrensohn (19 points, three rebounds). Brook Ruscoe-Taiaroa (18 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals) and Zach Riley (18 points, five assists and three steals) also notched up big numbers.

For the Airs, Marcel Jones did his usual thing with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in a workman-like effort. Carlin Davison had 16 points, four rebounds and two assists in the loss, while Haize Walker (14 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Francis Mulvihill (12 points, four assists and two rebounds) also had busy nights on the stats sheet.

The quickest turnarounds belong to the Southland Sharks and Wellington Saints who both hit the road to face Otago Nuggets and Canterbury Rams respectively tonight. The Auckland Huskies travel to lock horns with Hawkes Bay Hawks tomorrow, whilst the Franklin Bulls tackle the Manawatu Jets, and the Taranaki Mountainairs face the Nelson Giants on Monday.

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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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Selby and Waterman lead Bulls to win in Bailey-Nowell’s 300th

FRANKLIN Bulls have triumphed over Taranaki Mountainairs for the Bulls’ second win of the season thanks to a dominant second half at TSB Stadium last night. Celebrating veteran, Aaron Bailey-Nowell‘s 300th game, the Bulls managed to stand up when it counted thanks to huge efforts from Josh Selby and Zane Waterman cancelling out yet another double-double from Airs’ Marcel Jones. With a 56-39 second half, the Bulls got up by 16 points, 101-85.

The Bulls started off the night with an early lead, taking a one-point advantage into quarter time following a 24-23 opening term. The Airs, in front of a home crowd, were not going to lie down though, grabbing the momentum and the lead by as much as nine points. Having had narrow leads in the opening term, the nine-point advantage midway through the second quarter looked to have the home team on top. A late charge from the Bulls though cut it down to just the one point by the main break.

Taranaki started off strongly in the third to quickly hold momentum in the opening few minutes and lead by as much as four points, but once they surrendered the lead at the 7:19 minute mark of the third term, they never got it back. For the last seven minutes the Bulls piled on 19-10 to lead by nine points at the final break. Once the Bulls started to pile on the scoreboard pressure, there was no stopping them and they hit the double-digit lead early in the final term, never looking back, wining the last quarter 26-19 for a comfortable 101-85 victory.

The Bulls shot at a higher efficiency, with 58 to 50 per cent from two-point range, and nailing 15 three-pointers compared to the Airs’ 11. The Bulls also got to the free-throw line more often with 10 of 16 compared to a 100 per cent success rate from just four chances for the home team. Across the board the Bulls had the ascendancy with more rebounds (43-39), assists (17-15) and steals (11-5), but it was the personal fouls count that really stood out, as the Airs committed 20-6, and also had three more turnovers (15-12), with the Bulls punishing them from turnovers with 21 points to 15. The Airs were better in the paint though, picking up 44 points to 36, and had 11 second chance points to seven.

Selby won Player of the Match honours with 34 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in an all-round performance, dropping a massive seven of 10 from three-point range for an overall efficiency of 65 per cent. Waterman was not far behind with a huge double-double of 27 points (57 per cent efficiency) and 16 rebounds – seven offensive – to go with four assists. Joseph Nunag was the other key scorer for the Bulls with 14 points and three assists, while Nicholas Fee put together a valued performance of eight points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals.

Jones was far and away the best for the Airs, picking up another double-double of 33 points (54 per cent efficiency and six of 11 from long-range), 10 rebounds and two assists. Tai Wynyard had 18 points, three rebounds and two steals, Haize Walker finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Bailey-Nowell had the two points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal in his milestone game.

Franklin Bulls have a short turnaround with a game against the Nelson Giants tomorrow, whilst the Airs have an extended break until Sunday, May 16 when they lock horns with Otago Nuggets.

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Bulls hold on in thriller over Jets as Nuggets find gold with big win over Airs

TWO counter-contrasting matches in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) competition saw the Otago Nuggets and Franklin Bulls reign supreme to collect their first wins of the season. Whilst the Nuggets managed to do it fairly comfortably with a dominant 27-point win over Taranaki Mountainairs, the going was much tougher for the Bulls, surviving a momentum-swinging game and a tense final minute to salute by the barest of margins.

In the Bulls and Jets thriller, the Bulls led by as much as six points with 3:09 on the clock in the final term. Daishon Knight was threatening to spoil the party, with back-to-back baskets – and a Deandre Daniels block on Josh Selby – cutting the deficit to just two points with 2:29 left. Nicolas Fee‘s successful free throws just pushed the lead out to two baskets with 2:13 on the clock but no less than 12 seconds later, Daniels hit a three-point jumper and the Jets were back to within one point. Despite these baskets, the next two minutes would be a battle of nerves and attrition as neither side scored in that time. The Bulls had three shots and missed them all, with the Jets having two, as well as a couple of turnovers, and an offensive foul, with Knight’s dying seconds jump shot from inside the arc missing and Dane Brooks grabbing the defensive rebound, and the win.

Earlier in the match, the Bulls took a three-point lead into half-time after the teams could not be split following a quarter of action. The Jets were soon to take off though, piling on 29 points to 21 in the third term to race to a five-point advantage by the final break. Despite having the momentum, it was the Bulls who hit back early in the fourth and both teams were trading baskets – and the lead – until a Denhym Brooke triple with 4:09 on the clock gave the Bulls what would be the final lead change of the night. From there they got out to that six-point advantage before the last three minutes of tight basketball ensued.

The Bulls were costly from the field, shooting at just 42 per cent, though making up for it with 12 triples to the Jets’ six. They also took their chances from the charity stripe with 16 of 18 free throws made, whilst the Jets had the 15 of 20. The visitors led the rebound count by eight (50-42), as well as the blocks (5-1), though the winners had more assists (14-9) and steals (9-4) showing off their better ball-handing skills. The huge difference was Manawatu’s ability to punish the Bulls in the paint, with a whopping 60 points in there compared to the Bulls’ 38, who opted for the jumpers. The Bulls penalised the Jets off turnovers – despite having two more than Manawatu – with 19 points to 11 in that area.

Selby top-scored with 27 points, eight rebounds and four steals, whilst Zan Waterman was outstanding, collecting a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds. Joseph Nunag came off the bench for 20 points, while Brooks (10 points, six rebounds) was also handy. For the Jets, Jayden Bezzant was electric with 29 points – at 70 per cent from the field – as well as seven rebounds and two assists. It was the work of Shane Temara (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Daniels (15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks) off the boards that kept the Jets in the contest, while Knight notched up 23 points, three rebounds and three steals in the loss.

In the more one-sided contest, the Otago Nuggets took control after quarter time and never really looked like losing against the Taranaki Mountainairs. The Nuggets took a two-point lead into quarter time – after trailing for the majority of the opening term – but never looked back once they hit the front late in the quarter, scoring 49 points to 26 over the next two terms to race out to a 25-point lead at the last change. It was a tighter fourth quarter, but the Nuggets still capitalised with 23 points to 21, winning 93-66.

The Nuggets dominated every facet of the game with a higher field goal shooting percentage (45 to 41), more rebounds (47-36), assists (23-12), steals (14-12), blocks (5-4) and less turnovers (19-24). They also had two less personal fouls (16-18), and won the battle of points in the paint (40-28) and points from turnovers (26-13), in what was a really complete performance from the Nuggets in front of home fans.

Sam Timmins was enormous in the win, picking up a double-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds – five offensive – five assists, three blocks and two steals, teaming up well with Isaiah Moss (28 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals). Richie Rodger (10 points, three rebounds, three assists and five steals) was also lively across the court, and Josh Aicheson (nine points, four rebounds and five assists) made the most of his 21 minutes on court. For the Airs, four players did most of the damage, with Marcel Jones (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Tai Wynyard (11 points, 10 rebounds) picking up double-doubles in defeat. Baxter Fenwick (12 points, three rebounds) and Francis Mulvahil (11 points, four assists and three steals) were the others who tried hard.

Of the four sides, both the Bulls and Airs back up the quickest, set to clash on Thursday night, with the Jets to take on the Canterbury Rams on Friday night, while the Nuggets meet the Jets in Manawatu’s second game of next round on the Saturday evening.

Picture credit: PhotosportNZ via NZNBL

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #2 – Derone Raukawa (Taranaki Mountainairs)

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.

#2 DERONE RAUKAWA

When the Taranaki Mountainairs drafted Raukawa prior to the season, coaches believed him to be the best point guard in the draft. By season’s end, there were few who could disagree, after the Airs talent pieced together a remarkable year. He was unlucky not to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and could very easily be number one on our list had it not been for the MVP winner, but he was just as deserving of the feat.

There was little doubt at the conclusion of the season that Raukawa was a big game player. He stepped up when his team needed him, from his opening game double-double to his performance in crunch finals, as well as his work in the Airs’ overtime thriller, Raukawa was always busting a gut out on court doing all he could to drag his team across the line. Combining with Marcel Jones, the pair created a formidable duo, and Raukawa ended the season as the top point-scoring machine as well as number one playmaker with 7.4 assists per game, while Jones completed 2020 as the premier rebounder in the competition.

Raukawa was also the number one free-throw shooter of the top 20 shooters, and also ranked fifth for his long-range bombs with an accurate 38.6 per cent of those players. Still a more than handy 53 per cent accuracy from inside the arc, Raukawa had plenty of time to hone his craft on court as he recorded the second most minutes behind his teammate Jones. In 36.5 minutes per match in the season, Raukawa did not dip below 15 points, and only had sub-20 points on four occasions.

Raukawa’s best games included his first of four double-doubles against Nelson Giants with 28 points and 10 rebounds as well as five rebounds. He continued that effort against Auckland Huskies, Franklin Bulls and the Giants again, with 11 rebounds in each of those encounters to couple with 16, 21 and 15-point efforts. Raukawa arguably saved his best for last though, battling away in the semi-final against the Manawatu Jets. He put up a season-high 32 points as well as five rebounds, five assists and two steals, backing up from his elimination final effort opposed to Franklin Bulls (28 points, eight rebounds eight assists and two steals). If one thing is for sure, it is that Raukawa was a big game player.

STATS:

Points: 23.7
Rebounds: 3.6
Assists: 7.4
Steals: 1.4
FG%: 49.0
2P%: 53.0
3P%: 38.6
FT%: 90.3
Minutes: 36.5

Picture: NewsHub

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #4 – Marcel Jones (Taranaki Mountainairs)

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.

#4 MARCEL JONES

The Sal’s NBL ‘Mr Double-Double’ in Jones had a remarkable season which not only saw him rack up big numbers week-in, week-out, but also spent ridiculous amounts of time on court showing off his endurance. His forte is his point-scoring and rebounding capabilities, where he finished top two in both statistics. When it came to scoring, Jones was second overall with 22.8 points per game, but he topped the charts off the boards with a massive 13.1 per game. Adding to the fact he was equal fifth in sharing the rock made him an all-round damaging big man.

One aspect some might not know about Jones’ season in 2020 is that he averaged the most time on court of any player. Throughout the year, he averaged 36.8 minutes on court, and played the most individual minutes in a game this season when he ran out for 43 minutes and 20 seconds against Auckland Huskies, surpassing his own previous record by eight seconds a week earlier against Nelson Giants. He did it on the big stage as well, playing all 40 minutes during the Airs’ semi-final loss to Manawatu Jets, playing an important role for the losing side.

In that semi-final, Jones racked up 25 points, 12 rebounds – 11 defensive – and six assists, backing up from his 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks the day before in the elimination final. His lowest score all season was 13 points in the opening game, and after only hitting 20-plus points once in his first six games – 29 points against Franklin Bulls in game two – he only dipped below 20 points once – a 17-point effort against the Franklin Bulls on July 23.

Jones also had the most double doubles of any playing, picking up 12 for the season, and what made the feat more remarkable was the achievement that he did not slip below eight rebounds all year. That means if he picked up two more rebounds in his other four games, Jones would have gone the entire season with double doubles in every match. In terms of his top performances, he came close to a triple-double against Otago Nuggets early in the season, picking up 15 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists, then repeated the dose against the Nuggets the next time thanks to 26 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in what was arguably his best overall outing. His elimination final haul of 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists was pretty special too, and he is a clear standout when talking about top five players in the season and why he comes in at number four.

STATS:

Points: 22.8 (2nd)
Rebounds: 13.1 (1st)
Assists: 4.6 (eq. 5th)
Steals: 1.2
FG%: 45.2
2P%: 54.1
3P%: 32.6
FT%: 77.4
Minutes: 36.8 (1st)