Basketball: Breakers beat Tigers

By Josh Berry

Corey Webster of the Breakers attempts to score past the outstretched arms of Chris Goulding of the Melbourne Tigers. Photo / Getty Images
Corey Webster of the Breakers attempts to score past the outstretched arms of Chris Goulding of the Melbourne Tigers. Photo / Getty Images

Breakers 84
Tigers 74

In an astonishing win tonight, it was Mika Vukona who stood-up for the Breakers in their win over the Melbourne Tigers sending the losing side home licking their wounds.

As the Breakers took to a scarcely-filled North Shore Events Centre, it was the power forward Vukona providing the spoils against the Tigers, lighting up the show on both attack and defence.

The 10-point victory provides the Breakers with their first back-to-back win of the season. But it was anyone's game leading up to the final quarter.

With the lead changing the Breakers led by only a few points at the end of the second and third quarters. However, they managed to shut out this season's fourth-quarter hoodoo, closing out the game convincingly.

Earlier this week Coach Dean Vickerman was confident point guard Kerron Johnson would be fit for the game.

Luckily for the Breakers, Johnson came out in brilliant fashion with 11 points at the sound of the full-time buzzer.

"It is the nature of this competition that teams are going to have periods in the season when you're having to overcome a few niggling injuries. That's the test of depth and I have every faith in this group to get the job done,'' Vickerman said.

The Breakers got off to a shaky start as both sides provided relentless defence in the early stages of the first quarter.

Guard Daryl Corletto needing just 13 more points to achieve a 3000 career point milestone, wasted little time in securing the Breakers' first points off the back of a foul.

Corey Webster and Reuben Te Rangi cheered on the hopes of the 3200 plus crowd, sinking back-to-back three-pointers inside the last two minutes. Unfortunately the Breakers continued to give up easy fouls to the Tigers as they led 21-26 on the buzzer.

With their first decent bout of possession Te Rangi secured a foul, giving the Breakers a shot at redemption in the second quarter. But two missed shots by the forward let the Tigers have another taste of the ball.

Mika Vukona was the only player holding the Breakers together approaching half-time with 12 rebounds and a notable on-court presence. A chance to level the scores brought on as he finger-rolled the ball into the net, in which he also was awarded a free-shot. This helped his side to a 41-38 lead at half-time.

The rampant Vukona stood up as the man to keep the breakers hopes of two home wins alive. The power forward continued to lead the way into the third quarter looking to add to his first-half tally of 12 points.

A late threat from Tigers' shooting guard Chris Goulding didn't put the Breakers off as Te Rangi counter-acted with three points of his own giving them a two-point buffer going into the last quarter.

The Breakers fourth-quarter hoodoo was abolished early on as Vukona proved his worth, as did Abercrombie who finally came to the party _ albeit a little late _ finishing the game on 14 points.

On the full-time hooter, it was the Breakers with the win and a hint of a turning point in their slow season to date and Vukona ending the night with an impressive 14 points and 17 rebounds. They will head on the road next week leaving behind an elated kiwi fan-base.

- NZ Herald

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