The Southland Sharks have denied the Super City Rangers from clinching the final spot in the playoffs with a 107-98 win.
Duane Bailey top scored with 23 points, hitting 4/7 threes and point guard Mitch Norton scored 11 of his 21 in the final four minutes to stun the Rangers and give them their fourth straight loss. Nick Kay added a double -double of 18 points and 14 rebounds, and starters Alex Pledger (16) Everard Bartlett (11) also reached double-digit points for the Sharks
The Rangers looked like they were under control, leading for the majority of the first three quarters, extending it to as many as nine midway through the third quarter. But the Rangers momentum was quickly dissipated by the Sharks who went on a 11-0 run, making matters worse for the Rangers, a technical foul saw there one true centre, Terrence Roberts, fouling out.
Corey Webster would score the first bucket in the final quarter to put the visitors up 82-76, but after that it was all Southland, winning the final period 31-18 to seal their 11th win.
It was an extremely disappointing finish for the Rangers who now have to rely on the Wellington Saints to defeat the Mike Pero Giants in Nelson tomorrow to reach the SIT Final Four. Webster had back to back 30 point nights with a game high 32, Eric Devendorf had 24 and Lindsay Tait was the next best scorer with 18 for the Rangers who drop to 9-9 for the season.
Southland look to be peaking at the right time with their second straight win and sixth at home. It will be a re-match of last year's Grand Final for the Sharks who will this time be hosting the Saints. The one comfort the Sharks will take is the fact they have defeated the Saints twice at home this season albeit in closely fought battles.