Basketball: RSB forced to dig deep for win

By Ben Guild


Week nine of Tauranga City Basketball's adult premier league may have been disrupted by the national under-19 championships under way in Nelson but that does not mean it lacked drama.

Short-handed Foot Mechanics, with just six players when the game began and only five when it ended, gave RSB quite a fright in what was nearly a huge upset at ASB Arena on Tuesday night.

RSB started much the stronger with Eru Wills and Niki O'Brien stroking jumpers from the outside against a defence that failed to adequately close out on the perimeter.

They led 24-13 after one quarter and looked set to kick away, but that never happened.

Instead, Foot Mechanics, on the back of some deadly outside shooting from Jonathan Dishroon, began clawing their way back into the contest.

With plenty of help from Carl Green and Steve Campbell, Dishroon began chipping away at the advantage as the RSB shooters went cold.

It was 34-29 at the half and 53-51 after three quarters, as Dishroon largely managed to cancel out RSB's balanced attack through a series of bombs from well behind the three-point line.

Foot Mechanics tied the game up a number of times down the stretch, but they could not quite get the extra stop when it was needed.

Wills was left wide open by a tired defence a couple of times in the final minutes, effectively sealing the win with a pair of daggers from beyond the arc on his way to a team-high 21 points.

Dishroon finished with a game-high 28 points, despite his team falling 76-71 in a performance of real character.

Foot Mechanics coach Byron Vaetoe, who held the Tall Blacks point scoring record until he was overtaken by Phill Jones in 2006, was happy with the performance given the limited numbers at his disposal.

"We had a few older guys and some veteran players mixing it up with the younger players," said Vaetoe. "It was a good run for us, we had a short bench so a lot of the guys ran out of steam down the stretch."

He believes the move to ASB Arena has drastically improved the standard of the league.

"It's a lot better here because this gym is up there with the facilities that you see everywhere in New Zealand now.

"The QEII is pretty much an archive. It's old, historical. Playing in a gym like this lets the young players get used to this sort of environment.

"With the glass backboards, the perception is a little bit different than if you are playing with wooden backboards, it takes awhile to get used to.

"This is all for the younger generation - hopefully they get used to it."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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