The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams have once again fed off a vocal home crowd to surge home and deliver an 89-86 win over the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls.
Though the Rams jumped to a 9-0 start, keeping the Bulls scoreless for the opening 5-minutes on 0-of-8 shooting, it didn't take long for Josh Selby to find his groove and get his side rolling, sparking a 15-3 run of their own to take a 19-15 lead after the first quarter.
The home team fought back early in the second period with Ben Constable and Deshon Taylor both dropping banked triples, before an Alex Talma technical foul midway through the quarter got the Bulls back to level.
From there, Selby and Zane Waterman took over and created a plethora of headaches for the Rams with a 50-39 lead at the half testament to the work of the visiting imports.
The Bulls got out by as much as 14 points at one stage before Taylor dropped 16 third-quarter points to spark yet another heroic comeback. He was joined by EJ Singler who stuffed the stat sheet with plenty of everything.
Two technical fouls on the Bulls bench late in the third quarter helped the Rams close to within 5pts, before Taylor brought the sell-out crowd to life with two late baskets to reduce the margin to just 2 points.
The Bulls led 72-71 with just under 8 minutes to play, and found themselves up 78-73 with under 7 minutes to go, but from there it was once again over to Taylor, his ability to rise to the occasion bringing everyone at Cowles Stadium to their feet.
In the end the Rams got the win, while Taylor and Selby delivered a battle that will be talked about for weeks.
The Bulls head home with two losses from their journey south, while the Rams split a double.
Canterbury Rams (89) defetaed Franklin Bulls (86) - BOXSCORE
Rams: Deshon Taylor (35pts), EJ Singler (17pts, 11rbs & 9ast), Sam Smith (12pts, 10rbs), Quintin Bailey (12pts).
Bulls: Josh Selby (42pts), Zane Waterman (19pts & 14rbs).
Stuff MVP Votes
Deshon Taylor (Rams) 10
Josh Selby (Bulls) 8
EJ Singler (Rams) 6
Zane Waterman (Bulls) 4
Sam Smith (Rams) 2