The Nelson Giants mini-resurgence has been halted, falling 95-83 to the Southland Sharks in the National Basketball League tonight.
After firing coach Alan McAughtry when 0-5, the Giants had rebounded to 2-6 under promoted assistant Brendon Bailey. They had come out victorious in their last two games, including an upset victory over the Canterbury Rams last night.
For most of their clash with the Sharks, they continued that uptick in form.
The game was tight throughout the first half, and with two minutes to go in the third quarter they were still within two points. However, a 9-0 run to end the quarter gave the Sharks a double-digit lead, and they eventually coasted home in the final quarter to seal the victory.
Centre Alex Pledger was the top performer, recording 21 points on 10/12 shooting, to go alongside six rebounds and three blocks. He received support from Luke Aston (15 points), Nick Kay (14) and Mitch Norton (six points, six rebounds and seven assists) as the well-balanced Sharks got contributions from their whole nine-man rotation.
The Sharks go into their rightful spot on the NBL ladder, moving into second with a 5-3 record, while the Giants fall to 2-7.
After a start of the season where the Giants had very few playable options, they've slowly added depth to their roster. Six players scored in double digits, led by Finn Delany, who stuffed the statsheet with 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Giants have an unenviable task on Tuesday when they play the 9-0 Wellington Saints, with the Bay Hawks playing the Canterbury Rams on the same day. The Hawks game will be livestreamed on nzherald.co.nz from 2.00pm.