The individual performance of Round 6 of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam belonged to Kevin Braswell who sunk 49 points for the Birdmen in a 134-123 victory over the Mai88 Sixers.
Despite being without the influential Casey Frank the Birdmen made a solid start leading 33-30 at quarter time as both Braswell and Manny Matambanadzo (17pts) found their radar with long range efforts. Adam Dunston (11pts) was prominent for the Sixers as the half closed with the Birdmen in the ascendancy 59-55.
Braswell, the former SKY CITY Breakers and Southland Sharks point guard, took control in the third period scoring twenty points in the quarter including six triples, as he often made difficult shots look routine. Anthony Jones, Tipene Friday and Hayden Allen kept the Sixers scoring ticking over but The Birdmen were 107-87 ahead at three-quarter time.
Carl Buck and Isaac Davidson, filling in at the forward spot, added to the Sixers woes with some neat scoring touches. On any other day Matambanadzo would have grabbed the headlines, as he connected with 7 from 9 triples, amassing 27 points but it was Braswell who stole the show with a competition high 49 points.
The Birdmen 134 – Braswell 49, Matambanadzo 27, Buck 27, Davidson 17.
Mai88 Sixers 123 –Allen 33, Jones 21, Patrich Bolstad 18, Friday 16, Dunstan 13.
The opening game of the round involving 68NelsonStreet and Breakers Development had an interesting conclusion.
68Nelson appeared to be heading for a comfortable win after forging an 11-0 run to lead 92-79 with four minutes remaining. At that point BJ Anthony was called for his fifth foul and was forced to join Johnny Fesolai, who had already fouled out, on the bench.
Unfortunately that meant 68Nelson was reduced to four players having started the game with just six players. That prompted a 6-0 run by the Breakers as Finn Delany (twice) and Jordan Ngatai scored baskets. 68Nelson struck further trouble when young forward William Heather also fouled out with 60 seconds remaining.
That set up a frantic five on three finish just survived by 68Nelson as Matt Lacey and Lindsay Tait sunk critical free throws to hold off the fast finishing Breakers.
Earlier small forward Delany (eventually leading all scorers with 38pts) celebrated making his SKYCITY Breakers debut three days earlier by scoring the first points of the game and helping the hosts to a narrow 51-44 half time advantage. Delany, Ngatai and Sam Waardenburg were in double figures for the Breakers at the interval as were Tait and Anthony for 68Nelson.
The game was still in the balance entering the final quarter and when Braden Inger sunk a three to give the Breakers a 75-74 advantage inside the final period an upset was on the cards. The lead changed hands several times before 68Nelson made their decisive run and the exciting finish ensued.
Breakers Development 97 – Delany 38, Ngatai 25, Waardenburg 16.
68NelsonStreet 108 – Tait 23, Anthony 20, Haku 20, Fesolai 16, Lacey 10, Heather 10.
Standings after 6 rounds:
The Birdmen 3-3
Mai88 Sixers, Breakers Development 2-4