Basketball: Saints send Giants packing, help Rangers

Dion Prewster of the Saints makes a break. Photo / Photosport
Dion Prewster of the Saints makes a break. Photo / Photosport

The Wellington Saints ended the Nelson Giants hopes of making the playoffs with a 96-83 win.

One team that will be pleased with the result is the Super City Rangers who despite losing their last four, end the season with the same win/loss record of 9-9 as the Giants. The Rangers moving ahead due to defeating them twice out of three during the season.

Nelson came out on fire to start the game, pushing their lead to as many as 17 early in the second quarter, but the home side could not maintain it, Wellington outscoring them 30-13 to tie the ball game at halftime.

Wellington would go one to win the second half 52-39, ending a two game losing streak and pushing their record to 12-5 for the season. Point guard Shea Ili continued his great season with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Leon Henry added 20 points, nine rebounds, shooting 8/12 from the field.

Nelson was led by Ray Cowells with 23 points, Ben Strong added 18 points and captain Sam Dempster had 16 points and 11 rebounds, playing all forty minutes for his side, due to the injury of key forward Finn Delany. Phill Jones added 13 points in his 406th game which could possibly be his last.

The result means the Canterbury Rams will face the Rangers in the first semi-final, followed by the Saints playing the SIT Zerofees Sharks next Friday at ILT Stadium, Invercargill.

In New Plymouth, the Augusta Airs have finished their season on a high note with a 91-67 win over the Indigo Hawks who dropped to their 17th loss.

All five Taranaki starters scored over double-digits, including import Marcus Johnson, who returned from injury to score 15. The home side started the game with a 9-2 run, and from there on they never looked back, extending their lead to as many as 28.

The struggles continue for the Hawks who shot 35% from the field, 15% from the free throw line and committed 24 turnovers. Kareem Johnson tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Paora Winitana scored 11 in his final game of the year.

The Hawks will now hope to finish the season on a high note with a win tomorrow afternoon in Wellington against the Saints, and avoid a winless season.

- NZ Herald

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