A sharpshooting display from Everard Bartlett has propelled the Southland Sharks to a 112-91 blowout win over the Nelson Giants.
Bartlett was the catalyst in the third quarter for the visitors, hitting back to back three's then a three-point play, followed by another three to put the Sharks up 17. Bartlett ended the game with a season high 30 points and shot 7/9 shooting from three.
Head coach Judd Flavell will be very pleased that his side had a comfortable win as they now embark on two more road games this long weekend. Alex Pledger (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Nick Kay (17 points, 11 rebounds) bullied the Giants inside the paint while veteran Hayden Allen provided at spark off the bench for the Sharks with 18 points, 11 of which were in the first half.
It was a disappointing showing for the top of the table Giants, losing every quarter. Ray Cowells scored 30, and the next best was 14 by centre Ben Strong.
Southland added new import point guard, Demetrius Miller, who was quiet off the bench playing only 14 minutes. Guard Derone Raukawa stepped into the starting line-up, and showed he is capable of not just scoring, dishing out seven assists to go with 13 points.
The win now puts the Sharks at the top with the Giants at six wins and four losses, but Nelson hang on to first due to having the head to head advantage with a 26-point win in Round One. Nelson can return to outright first if they can beat the Wellington Saints tomorrow, and if the Sharks lose to Taranaki tomorrow. It will be vice versa if the results are opposite.