An undermanned SKYCITY Breakers were beaten 94-65 by Sydney Kings at the Australian Basketball Challenge in Brisbane on Friday evening.
Missing the services of the injured guard trio of Kirk Penney, Shea Ili and Corey Webster coach Paul Henare gave Jordan Ngatai a starting berth alongside Alex Pledger, Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie and Ben Woodside.
Vukona, with a reverse lay up, opened the SKYCITY Breakers scoring but last seasons NBL Finalist, despite a dunk on the buzzer from Akil Mitchell, trailed 31-21 at quarter time.
The SKYCITY Breakers struggled for offensive flow in the second period managing just 12 points to trail 53-32 at half-time.
New Sydney Kings signing Kevin Lisch led all scorers at the break with 11 points, Woodside the best of the Breakers with 9 points.
The third quarter was tied 17 points apiece with youngsters Ngatai and Finn Delany shining - Delanys throw down dunk the highlight of the game.
SKYCITY Breakers assistant coach Judd Flavell was impressed with the 21 year old Delany.
"Finn brought a lot of energy to the game, something we were lacking early on. His inexperience showed at times but even if he didnt come up with rebounds he was battling for possession. He also made some nice offensive plays attacking the hoop."
With the result decided the SKYCITY coaching staff elected to give valuable court time to a number of the less experienced players in the squad in the final stanza.
Ngatai grabbed his opportunity finishing with 10 points (4/8FG) and Delany was equally impressive making 8 points (4/5FG) in a very busy performance.
Isaih Tueta and Derone Raukawa were also given extended opportunities.
Woodside scored a team high 14 points and also garnered 3 steals and 3 rebounds in a composed display. Fellow import Akil Mitchell demonstrated his athleticism at both ends of the court finishing with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Flavell expects the team to bounce back in the next game, "It is only pre-season and the games dont count for points but our pride has taken a bit of a hit," he said.
One of the areas the team will be addressing will be the issue of turnovers - 23 were given up against Sydney. "We gave up way too many", said Flavell.
"It had a huge impact on the game giving them easy opportunities at the other end. As we spend more time together we will learn to cope with the pressure defence that the likes of Brisbane, Perth and Sydney employ," he added.
The SKYCITY Breakers have a day off on Saturday before facing Cairns Taipans on Sunday (2pm NZ Time) and Adelaide 36ers on Monday.
SKY CITY Breakers 65 - Woodside 14, Ngatai 10, Delany 8, Mitchell 8p/8r, Abercrombie 7
Sydney Kings 94 - Jason Cadee 18, Kevin Lisch 16
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand