Despite a 119-95 point loss to a polished Massey side in a pre-season game, the Northland Suns Mens Basketball team are feeling positive ahead of their resurgence on to the competitive scene.
Sunday's game at Kensington Stadium was the team's first proper hitout in their build up to the start of the Super City Basketball Competition on July 10.
For a youthful and comparatively inexperienced side only recently formed, the Suns put in a competitive performance, pleasing coach Roger Fong and player/chief executive Travis McIlroy.
"When the final whistle went, I felt like we had got what we wanted out of the game ... while winning was in the back of our minds throughout the game, we made sure we could work on the things we had control over. I think it was a positive result and we achieved what we set out to - we have something sustainable to work on at training now," McIlroy said.
 Fong made several changes to the starting five, which saw Ethan Penney line up alongside two former Auckland Stars, McIlroy and Corey Poa, as well as Casey Namana and Justin Friedrich.
They stuck with the Massey team, who also had two former Auckland Stars, Matty Yucich and Campbell Ross, for most of the first quarter and trailed by six points at the first break.
Massey showed their experience and maintained their lead for the remaining three quarters, with several Junior Tall Blacks and under-19 age-group representatives adding depth to their squad, which has been together for a few years and made the semifinals of the Conference Basketball League last year, McIlroy said.
Fong ended up rotating the whole squad,  which highlighted areas of the game players need to work on.
"Our defence let us down, but it comes down to the individual ... people aren't playing with as much intensity as they need to at this level. Also, we weren't rebounding well - our big guys need to harden up to keep up with the 120kg-140kg guys in the opposing team," McIlroy said.
Shooting guard Tori Bradshaw was impressive, locking down open shots and defending well, and stepped up when he was asked to, while Dargaville's Friedrich made use of his "unbelievable vertical jump" playing at small forward.
Overall the consensus from players, coach and spectators, was it was a good game, and McIlroy  was certain his team would be competitive in the upcoming SCBC.
The Suns' next game is against North Harbour at Kensington Stadium on June 26.