Basketball: MountainAirs stun Giants in first home game

Jackson Stubbins of the Taranaki MountainAirs. Photo / Photosport
Jackson Stubbins of the Taranaki MountainAirs. Photo / Photosport

The Taranaki Mountainirs have opened their first home game with a stunning 75-74 win over the Nelson Giants.

A go ahead basket from Jordan Ngatai gave Taranaki their third win of the season and first against Nelson since 2012.

It was always going to be a tough ask for the Airs, who were without American Marcus Johnson. But the home-side was able to step up defensively, holding the Giants to 39% from the field.

Nelson will be disappointed they could not put away the Airs after they led by seven with under a minute to go in the third quarter. An 8-0 run by Taranaki to end the quarter made it anyone's game in the fourth.

Both teams would share the lead in the final period, a tip in by Jarrod Kenny on his Giants debut, put them up 74-73 with seconds to go. But on the next possession, Ngatai was able to get a good look just below the free throw line to retake the lead.

Nelson were unable to get a game winning shot off, as Taranaki was able to force a deflection on the inbounds.

Ngatai scored a team high 21 points, both forwards Daniel Miller (19 pts, 11 reb) and Aaron Bailey-Nowell (11 pts, 13 reb) grabbed double-doubles.

Nelson were led by the Americans, Raymond Cowells (21 pts) and Ben Strong (18 pts).

The Giants (3-2) will look to bounce back quickly when they play against Wellington on Easter Monday in a rematch of last year's semifinal (Live Streamed on NZ Herald).

Round Three will conclude with the Bay Hawks (0-3) taking on the Canterbury Rams (2-2)

- NZ Herald

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