NBL Round 2 Wrap

Zero Fresh Southland Sharks opened the NBL second round proceedings with an emphatic 117-88 home victory against the James Blond Super City Rangers on Friday.

The Sharks jumped out to a 31-15 first quarter lead quickly eradicating the memory of their opening round loss against the Otago Nuggets. Kevin Braswell (30pts) and Reuben Te Rangi (27pts) led the Sharks, Former Ranger Shea Ili contributed 17 points off the bench and naturalized Australian Dave Gruber chimed in with 11points and 8 rebounds. Gruber has joined the Sharks as short term cover for the injured Brian Conklin.

Duane Bailey returned his second consecutive double double (17pts/10 rebounds) for the Rangers and Daryl Corletto scored 21 points on debut but the visitors were no match for the defending champions and slipped to their second loss of the season.

Things didn’t get much better for the Rangers the following night as they succumbed 92-82 to the Otago Nuggets. The Rangers trailed just 45-42 at half time but once Otago had built a ten points buffer in the third period the visitors were not able to threaten.

The Otago veterans Brendon Polyblank and Mark Dickel both scored 16 points – Dickel also contributing 12 assists. Import Troy Payne was also to the fore with 20 points/12 rebounds, Sam King terrific off the bench with 17 points.

The Rangers were once again well served by Eric Devendorf (24pts) and Duane Bailey (15pts) but Daryl Corletto had a disappointing night connecting with just 4 from 13 from the field.

The Canterbury Rams proved once again they are a competitive force in their comeback season. They won three of the four quarters in Nelson but came up agonisingly short losing 77-76.

Jeremy Kench (14pts/8 assists) put the Rams ahead with 1:30 left on the clock but the ever reliable Josh Pace (21pts) had the final say scoring a basket and a free throw to seal the win.

The Giants were also well served by fellow import Jamal Boykin, 1(9pts) and Mika Vukona, (3pts/10 rebounds). For the Rams Ritchie Edwards scored 10 first quarter points but could only add another three in the remainder of the game. Imports Matt Rogers (22pts) and Glen Dandridge (17pts) paced the Canterbury effort.

In the third Saturday game the Bay Hawks recorded their second consecutive home win beating the Taranaki Mountain Airs 88-80.

The Airs led 52-44 at half-time but were outscored 44-28 in the second half. The Airs had five players in double digit scoring but couldn’t hold off the fast finishing Hawks. Everard Bartlett (19pts), Kareem Johnson (22pts/9rebounds) and Marco Alexander (14pts) got the Hawks home.

Aaron Bailey-Nowell played his 200th NBL game on Sunday but it was not an occasion to cherish for the Taranaki stalwart. Not only did the Mountainairs lose their second game in 24 hours but also Bailey-Nowell was ejected from the game mid-way through the final period after a verbal altercation with one of the referees following his fifth foul.

Bailey-Nowell and his colleagues began well against the Waikato Pistons ahead 15-10 at quarter time and level at half time 30-30. First half shooting percentages for both teams were moderate at best – Piston connecting with just 11 of 32 from the field.

Offensive execution did improve in the second half, the Pistons eventually cruising to a 84-62 victory on the back of 18 points each from the import duo of Akeem Wright and Corin Henry and nice cameos off the bench from Karl Noyer (10pts) and Alex Talma . Talma getting my vote for Rookie of the Week after his 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block performance.

Adrian Oliver (16pts) and Sulemain Braimoh (13pts/11rebounds) led the Taranaki effort; young Dane Brooks the individual highlight throwing down a lob pass from Brad Anderson in the first half.

Standings:

Wellington Saints 3-0 Otago Nuggets 2-0 Waikato Pistons 2-1 Bay Hawks 2-1 Manawatu Jets 1-0 Nelson Giants 1-1 Southland Sharks 1-1 Canterbury Rams 0-2 Super City Rangers 0-3 Taranaki Mountainairs 0-3

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