Ruscoe and Tait shine


Brook Ruscoe scored 32 points for the Birdmen

Kentucky University bound Tai Wynyard was unavailable for round four of the 2015 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam due to a hamstring injury.

The Breakers Development team was also without Jordan Ngatai and forced to rely on a high school-aged team supplemented with the experience of Shea Ili and Finn Delany.

In contrast The Birdmen had a flock of talent including Kevin Braswell and former Tall Blacks Casey Frank, Brook Ruscoe and Josh Bloxham. Dan Fotu opened the scoring for the Breakers but as anticipated the Birdmen made a flying start leading 28-17 at quarter time on the back of enterprising play from Braswell and Ruscoe.

The Breakers bounced back strongly in the second period their efforts rewarded with a 64-63 half time advantage. Shea Ili led all scorers with 24 points at the break, Ruscoe and power forward Robson Tavita each had a dozen points for the Birdmen.

The Birdmen, eventually finishing with seven players in double figures, poured in 33 third quarter points to establish a 96-82 lead eventually cruising to a 130-109 win.

Delany, Ili, Fotu, Sam Waardenburg and Brayden Inger all had impressive moments but on this occasion could not match the guile and experience of the international contingent in the Birdmen line-up.

Final score;

Breakers Development 109–Ili 29, Delany 25, Fotu 19, Waardenburg 9, Inger 9.

The Birdmen 130 – Ruscoe 32, Braswell 25, Frank 15, Tavita 14, Bloxham 14.

The second fixture did not quite have the NBA scoring proportions of the first game but still provided plenty of entertainment for the onlookers as 68NelsonStreet held off Mai88 Sixers 108-102.

Tipene Friday and Derone Raukawa, both playing their first game of the season, made an early impression as the Sixers moved out to a 12-8 advantage before being reeled in to trail 30-24 at quarter time.

Ana Haku and Lindsay Tait combined to stretch the 68NelsonSt lead to 43-29 at the mid point of the second quarter before the ever reliable Hayden Allen and Houston O’Riley brought the Sixers right back into contention. Friday produced an athletic ring shuddering dunk and the scores were level, 60 points apiece.

Tait was relentlessly attacking the rim for NelsonSt as was Sam Aruwa and with Matt Lacey knocking down a couple of triples they held sway, 79-72 at three quarter time.

NelsonSt led throughout the final quarter but couldn’t ever sit comfortably on their lead as the Sixers stayed within single digit range. Raukawa knocked down a triple on the 3 minutes remaining mark before O’Riley and NesonSt’s Karl Noyer embarked on a personal shooting dual. O’Riley scored three consecutive triples and Noyer two plus a baseline drive to conclude an entertaining game.

Final score;

Mai88 Sixers 102 – Raukawa 25, Allen 22, Friday 18, O’Riley 16, Anthony Jones 11

68NelsonStreet 108 – Tait 38, Haku 21, Noyer 13, Lacey 12, Aruwa 10.

Standings after 4 rounds:

68 NelsonSt 3-1

Breakers development and The Birdmen 2-2

Mai88 Sixers 1-3

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