The Wellington Saints is the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a 108-91 win over the James Blond Supercity Rangers.
It was a top of the table clash, but Wellington were able to set the tone at the beginning, winning the first quarter by nine and then winning both the second and third periods to push their lead to 17. The Saint were able to push the lead up to 22 ensuring there would be no late Rangers comeback.
It was the third win for the Saints over the Rangers this season, and they were led by their leading scorer Torrey Craig who had a game high 30 to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Benny Anthony Jr had a big game with a season high 26 points which included 4/5 three pointers. Point guard Shea Ili also got in on the action with 19 points and seven assists for the Saints who have won six in a row with an 11-3 record.
The Rangers were led by their league leading scorer Eric Devendorf who scored 25. Lindsay Tait tallied 18 points, five rebounds and five assists against his former side, and Mike Vukona added 12. It was a relatively quiet night for former Saint, Corey Webster who had 15 points on 4/14 shooting.
The loss puts the Rangers at 9-6, but they will have a chance to inch closer to the final four with their next game being in Whangarei against the Augusta Airs (5-9).
In Christchurch the Canterbury Rams have come a step closer to confirming their place in the playoffs with a 106-78 win over the Indigo Hawks.
McKenzie Moore tallied the first triple-double of the season with 19 points, 11 rebounds and ten assists for the Rams who move to 10-5 for the season. Point guard Jamie Adams added 17 points and seven assists, and captain Ethan Rusbatch scored 18 on 6/8 shooting.
It was another disappointing Hawks performance as they slump to 0-15. Kareem Johnson was again the leading scorer for the Hawks with 23 and guard Luke Aston was the next best with 14.
The Hawks got off to a quick start taking a 15-4 lead, but it would go downhill from there as the Rams went on a 23-5 run to be up seven points at the end of the first quarter.
The Rams continued to up the tempo as the Hawks struggled in defensive transition allowing the home side to score too many easy buckets. By half time Canterbury had 57 points and a comfortable 15-point lead.
After the break, Canterbury would push their lead to 26 in the third and extend it to 30 allowing coach Mark Dickel to put his young bench on, eleven Rams registering on the score sheet
This is the third win on the trot for the Rams who now one win away from clinching a playoff spot which they can do on the road to the Augusta Airs next Thursday.
Wellington Saints 22
Canterbury Rams 20
Southland Sharks 18
Super City Rangers 18
Nelson Giants 16
Taranaki Mountainairs 10