The EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls made it two straight wins in the Sal’s NBL with a tight 75-69 victory against Mike Pero Nelson Giants in the later game at Trusts Arena on Tuesday night.
Both teams had tasted victory on Sunday night but led by 15 points from one of the outstanding players in the opening week, Isaac Davidson, the Bulls got the better of the closing stages to gain the win.
Davidson was well supported by Sam Timmins (10 points), Nikau McCullough (11 points) and Jackson Stubbins (5 points and 10 rebounds).
Mike Karena was immense for the Giants scoring a game-high 26 points (12/17FG) and snagging seven rebounds.
The Bulls made the early running as they opened up a 21-14 lead – Adam Dunstan with five points for the Bulls.
A Timmins hook shot took the Bulls lead into double figures and with the former University of Washington big-man doing good deeds at the defensive end his team were controlling the affair.
Davidson's second three of the night took the Bulls out to a 34-19 lead before Tysxun Aiolupotea made a welcome three for the Giants.
Karena and Tom Ingham were all business for the Giants who enjoyed a 13-2 run to close the half, which cut the deficit to just a single point at the break (36-35).
Karena gave the Giants the lead on the first possession of the second half but it was stolen from them in the shadows of three-quarter time when veteran guard Everard Bartlett caressed home a long three – the Bulls ahead 56-53.
There was little to choose between the teams but when Davidson scored inside with 6:11 to play and the Bulls were up 67-58, Nelson coach Mike Fitchett needed a timeout.
Karena took his tally into the twenties and when Zeb Lovell sprayed one home from deep the Giants were just four down with 90 seconds to play.
That situation improved further when Karena scored on the drive (71-69) but the Giants couldn’t find another score. Davidson and Jackson Stubbins did the job at the foul line to keep the Giants at bay.
The Bulls move to 2-2, while the Giants slip to 1-3 for the season.
Sky City MVP Votes:
Isaac Davidson (Bulls-10), Mike Karena (Giants-8), Nikau McCullough (Bulls-5), Jackson Stubbins (Bulls-3), Zeb Lovell (Giants-2), Theo Johnson (Giants-1), Nick Barrow (Bulls-1)