Wellington Saints 107 Bay Hawks 84

Make that two blowouts in the first two NBL games.

A day after the Southland Sharks opened the season by destroying the Nelson Giants, the stacked Wellington Saints got their season off to a flying start, thrashing the Bay Hawks 107-84.

The Saints currently have no imports on their roster after cutting Aaron Valdes in pre-season, and were missing Beny Anthony. They still had an overwhelming disparity on the Hawks, who were also short-handed without Jarrod Kenny, and import Amir Williams, who doesn't arrive in the country until April 3rd.

Corey Webster's return to the court with the Saints was smooth, leading all scorers with 29 points in 25 minutes on 12/24 shooting, and finding his spots on the floor with ease. Josh Duinker added 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Tai Wesley shot 8/10 on his way to 17 points.


Shea Ili's development continued with an impressive showing on both ends, contributing 13 points, three boards and five dimes, while Leon Henry was his usual athletic self with 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks.

Much like in the opener, the Saints jumped out to a lead which immediately killed the game off, leading 19-2 early in the piece. The Hawks had a little bit of fight in them, but lacked creation without Kenny, and rim protection without Williams.

Williams' temporary replacement, centre Grant Fiorentinos, provided very little, with 10 points and just three rebounds.

More curious was the case of Josh Fox - an athletic Fijian wing who averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game in Division One college and in the British Basketball League. Tipped to be a big contributor for the Hawks, instead he was the ninth man off the bench and only given five minutes of action.

The Hawks received decent games from Everard Bartlett, who was forced to play a heavy workload, largely out of position, but still finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. High-upside guard Tony Tolovae mixed moments of brilliant creation with some shaky outside shooting as he scored 18 points, including a vicious baseline dunk.

Import Lamar Roberson had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Ana Haku chipped in with 11 points off the bench.

Both teams now refocus for next week, while tomorrow in the NBL the Nelson Giants host the Taranaki Mountain Airs, and the Supercity Rangers host the Canterbury Rams. The Rangers v Rams clash will be live streamed on nzherald.co.nz.