Numbers don’t tell the full story of what Kirk Penney has contributed to the SKYCITY Breakers but they do help illustrate what a massive contribution he has made to the success of the club and the many memories he has provided.
Penney made his debut for the Breakers on October 4th, 2007 at NSEC scoring 23 points against West Sydney Razorbacks – Oscar Forman and Mika Vukona played for Breakers that day although Paul Henare missed the game, bringing to an end a run of 130 consecutive games.
Penney scored 23 points that day, the beginning of quite a sequence of scoring in his first season with the club. In 31 games he passed the twenty points mark in all but four games as the Breakers made the play-offs for the first time. He finished that season with 749 points at 24.2ppg.
The following season he soon waltzed past the 1,000 points mark for the club – tallied in just 41 games. Just 15 players have reached that milestone for the North Shore club and he passed that number in ten games fewer than the second quickest – Mike Chappel.
The Breakers went a game deeper into the play-offs that year but fell in the semi-final to a star studded Melbourne Tigers. Penney’s output was almost identical to season one amassing 747 points in exactly the same number of games.
Season 2009-2010 was the one that got away. The team won the last six games on the bounce but missed the play-offs by a whisker with a team that felt they could have gone all the way to a title. It was also the beginning of the 40-minute game era that naturally impacted on the number of points scored by teams and individuals. It didn’t affect Penney greatly as he still averaged 23 points an outing.
At the back end of that season he scored a career high 49 points against Adelaide which still stand as the second highest individual score by a Breakers player, just behind 50 points from Carlos Powell against Melbourne Tigers in 2006.
2010-2011 was a season to savour, a season when Penney helped bring the first of four NBL Championships to the club. Penney’s numbers were down slightly with 581 points at a still healthy 20 points an outing. However in the play-offs he produced a memorable performance to help take the Breakers to their first Grand Final.
You may remember that in game one of the semi-final series the Breakers suffered a serious bout of stage fright and were stuffed 101-78 by Perth Wildcats at NSEC. To make matters worse Mika Vukona hobbled out of the game with a serious leg injury.
Three days later, in Perth, Penney and the Breakers caused an upset by defeating the Wildcats 93-89. The performance was memorable on two counts. Firstly Vukona not only defied the medics and played but he also garnered a game high 10 rebounds. Secondly Penney reeled off a match- winning 38 points – a couple of his corner three jump shots still live in the memory.
The Breakers took care of business in game three back on the North Shore and went on to claim their first title with a two games to one victory against Cairns.
Following a five-year break Penney returned to the Breakers last season and although they fell one win short of another play-offs appearance he still led the team in scoring. Playing in all 28 games, he scored in double figures 25 times finishing with 486 points at 17.4ppg.
Having missed the last five games with a calf injury Penney’s place as the Breakers all-time leading points scorer has been overtaken by Tom Abercrombie – but only just.
Penney has scored 3,200 points at 20.3ppg with Abercrombie just four points ahead. (3,204 points at 11.7ppg).
Other Penney numbers at the Breakers:
Has made the most 3 point shots for the club (483)
Has scored 30 points or more in a single game on 30 occasions.