The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams chalked up their first win the Sal's NBL, following an impressive display of interior basketball and dominating the 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers 98-61.
A dominant first half set the Rams up for a big win on the North Shore and the Rangers dug themselves too big a hole to climb out of with their poor shot selection and execution in the early stages.
The Rams ascendancy was evident from the get-go, with the visitors going to work down low and converting on the majority of their attempts. Meanwhile, the Rangers failed to score for six straight minutes midway through the first quarter and finished the period 6-21 from the field.
It was a similar story in the second, with the Rams extending what was a 13-point lead to 26 by the sound of the buzzer for the half. Points for the Cantabs were coming from across the board, but the standout on the night was Michael Karena who at that was sitting on 18. Nnanna Egwu seemed to be the only one with the ability to put the ball in the basket for Rangers, but his efforts would be overshadowed by the dark cloud that was his team's field goal percentage.
The home team showed promise to start the second half and would outscore the Rams 22-16 in the quarter. All three of the Rangers' imports contributed to decreasing the deficit, but the Rams made more than enough of their shots to keep a 20-point lead. Karena was again the driving force for the visitors on the block, with Emmett Naar and Isaiah Wilkins feeding the forward while also chipping in themselves.
The Rangers comeback hopes showed no life in the final quarter and the Rams would finish strong to the delight of Head Coach Mick Downer. Karena finished with 36 points and fell one rebound shy of a double-double, but walked away with Sal's MVP for the game. Import Cameron Gliddon showed off his shooting ability by going 5-7 from deep, while fellow foreigner Wilkins was seemingly everywhere tonight and notched at least one in every positive statistical category besides treys.