NZNBL 2014 Round 1: Saints steal show in OT opener

Round 1 of the NZNBL kicked off last week, here is the round recap!

Wellington Saints 93-91 Bay Hawks (OT)

Thanks to a significant second half storm, the Wellington Saints have been able to overcome a seven point half time deficit to pip the Hawks at the horn, the second time round. In what was head coach Shane Heal’s first game with his new squad, albeit without stars Corey Webster and BJ Anthony, the Saints stepped up to the plate thanks to some great individual performances.

Lindsay Tait starred in the second half comeback registering 17 points and 14 assists, Elijah Obade had himself a night with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Ernest Scott (26 points) and Dion Prewster (21 points) did the damage on the scoreboard.

For the Hawks it was an all round team effort with a number of players hitting double figures: Kareem Johnson (14 points, 12 rebounds), Jarrod Kenny (14 points, 7 assists), Everard Bartlett (15 points, 7 rebounds) and Dustin Scott (14 points, 8 rebounds).

Southland Sharks 77-83 Otago Nuggets

In a hotly contested first round clash, the Otago Nuggets scraped through for a huge six point road upset win over the Sharks.

A new look Nuggets team was led by Troy Payne who played 40 minutes for 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Mr (Marques) Whippy was a beast on the boards in his first game for the club, grabbing 17 rebounds to go along with his eight points.

Reuben Te Rangi continued his form from the Australian NBL and will be a dominant force this season. 28 points in his opener to pair up with ex-opponent Brian Conklin who was the Townsville Crocodiles import who scored 13 points and five rebounds.

Credit: Photo Credit: Monica Toretto - Southland Sharks photographer

Nelson Giants 78-84 Wellington Saints

In yet another upset in the Friday night triple header, the Wellington Saints knocked off the Nelson Giants on the road.

Corey Webster was unstoppable scoring 26 points, albeit on 9-24 field goal shooting. He was helped out by Lindsay Tait (20 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) and Ernest Scott (16 points, 8 rebounds) to register their second win of the season.

For the Giants, their import Jamal Boykin impressed with 23 points and eight rebounds, while it was their key members that started off the bench: Mika Vukona, Phill Jones and Brook Ruscoe who were disappointing, combining for just five field goals. Josh Pace improved again with 13 points and nine rebounds in a positive for Nelson.

Bay Hawks 86-75 Waikato Pistons

The third upset of Friday night occurred in Hawke’s Bay with the Hawks scoring an eleven point win over the stacked Pistons squad.

Hawks dominated the final minutes of the contest, going on a 17-5 run to finish the game. Everard Bartlett (8 rebounds, 5 assists) and Dustin Scott (8 rebounds, 4 assists) both scored a team high 16 points, while Kareem Johnson chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds.

Casey Frank’s six turnovers showed a downfall on his solid 16 point, 11 rebound game, while Akeem Wright scored a game high 18 points.

Super City Rangers 75-85 Waikato Pistons

The Super City Rangers couldn’t make it out of first gear after their quick start against the Pistons, and eventually succumbed to a double digit loss.

Corin Henry scored a game high 20 points for the Pistons, while teammates Akeem Wright (17 points, 5 rebounds), Casey Frank (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Zac Carter (12 points, 6 rebounds) helped out in the victory.

Rangers’ duo Duane Bailey (18 points, 15 rebounds, 3 steals) and Eric Devendorf (17 points) kept the home side in the game for stretches, however their defensive sets lacked any intensity which allowed easy points for the Pistons.

Taraniki Mountainairs 74-82 Manawatu Jets

After a very tight start to the game, the Manawatu Jets were able to fend off a late surge to hold an eight point win over their opponents on Sunday.

Paul Jones dominated for the Jets with 33 points and 17 rebounds on debut, while veteran Arthur Trousdell chipped in with 12 point and nine rebounds off the pine.

For the home side, import Adrian Oliver certainly delivered with 30 points and five rebounds. He was helped out by Suleiman Braimoh off the bench with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Canterbury Rams 79-89 Wellington Saints

The Saints have kicked off season 2014 with a flying three and zero start in round one, capped off by a ten point win over the new Rams.

Their ‘Big 3’ was at it again, with Corey Webster providing most of the scoring flow as he notched a game high 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Lindsay Tait has himself another outing with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists, plus Elijah Obade chipped in with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

For the home side, their American duo kept them in the game for most parts, as Matt Rogers had 24 points, nine rebounds and Glen Danderidge had 19.

Wellington now takes a well deserved break from an action packed weekend.

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