The Supercity Rangers have rebounded from their loss in Te Awamutu to defeat the top of the table Nelson Giants 111-100
Eric Devendorf continued his stellar season with a game high 29 points, and centre Terrence Roberts had 25 points (11-13 FG) 13 rebounds for the Rangers who move back to .500 with four wins and four losses. Forward Reuben Te Rangi came up big in crucial moments for the Rangers shooting 7/11 for 24 points and guard Lindsay Tait added 18.
The Giants came out firing in the first quarter with 38 points to take a 14-point lead, but the Rangers quickly got back into the contest with a 28-18 second quarter, followed by a 32-22 third which put them up six heading into the fourth. The Giants could not make inroads into the Rangers lead which crept up to 12 with three minutes to play.
A Phill Jones jumper with under a minute remaining the home side got to within six points, but at that stage Nelson were forced to foul the Rangers who would convert their free throws to secure the victory.
Nelson will be disappointed that they did not take advantage of a Rangers side who was missing Nelson stalwart Mika Vukona (suspended). Centre Ben Strong scored a team high 28, Ray Cowells had 27, and Phill Jones added 17 for the Giants who remain at the top of the table with six wins and three losses.
In Invercargill, the SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks have got their season back on track with a convincing 98-75 win over the Canterbury Rams. Alex Pledger grabbed a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, guard Everard Bartlett had an efficient 19 converting on 5/7 threes.
Southland took advantage of a Rams side that played the night before in Wellington, winning the opening quarter 32-12. A fight back by Canterbury saw them cut the deficit to seven at half time. But a dreadful third quarter of ten points by the visitors put them down 19 going into the fourth quarter. To make matters worse their best player McKenzie Moore inexplicitly fouled with three minutes left in the period.
The home side would put the game out of reach, leading by as many as 27 to secure their fifth win of the season.
The Augusta Airs have ended their two game losing streak with an 84-67 win over the Indigo Hawks. The Hawks were only trailing 61-55 going into the fourth quarter, but the Airs but the clamps on the home side winning the period 23-12, giving them their fourth win of the season.
It is the eighth straight loss for the Hawks who came out firing in the opening period with and early six-point lead and had moments in the game where they were competitive, but again when it came to crunch time they could not with stand the Airs pressure.
Taranaki import duo Marcus Johnson (16 points, nine rebounds) and Daniel Miller (18 points, nine rebounds) were both productive, Johnson in particular was a menace on both ends, and was able to get into the paint with ease, either scoring or creating for his team mates. Jordan Ngatai added 16 and Aaron Bailey was one-point shy of a double-double with 10 rebounds.
The Hawks looked like a much better squad than their previous games and it helped that they had guard Alonzo Burton(12points) and forward Darryl Jones(10points) back in the starting line-up. But they were still without a key import to help carry the, in the fourth.
After the half way mark of the season, it will be a thrilling second half as six teams have at least four wins with only 1.5 games separating the first to the sixth.