The Taylor Hawks have made it three from three with a thrilling 90-87 win over the Augusta Airs.
Dion Prewster (25 points) and Angus Brandt (23 points) and have led the way for the Hawks who are now only one win away from tying last years tally of four wins.
The Hawks were coming off the second night of a back to back and they had to dig deep after trailing by as many as 15 in the third quarter. But in the third the Hawks went on a 10-2 run which was led by Prewster and Brandt, forcing the Airs to call a time out. But the timeout would not prevent what was a strong finish to the period for the Hawks who would outscore Taranaki 26-16.
In the fourth, the Hawks widened the gap to eight, but a mini run by the Airs saw them close tie the ball game with two minutes to go. Brandt would reply with a three point play to put them ahead 88-85. The Airs had a couple of three point attempts to tie the game but they were unable to convert.
After the second Airs missed three point attempt, they managed to get stops, but two offensive rebounds from the Hawks allowed them to milk the clock to 10 seconds, forcing the Airs to foul Prewster. Prewster would convert on both attempts to make it a two possession ball game. A Dane Brooks two pointer did get the Airs to within three with 3 seconds left, but time would not be on their side as they were unable to secure another possession.
Taranaki were led by Javonte Douglas who again impressed with game high 30 points, but was on track to go for forty plus after scoring 22 by halftime. Alonzo Burton added 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Xavier Smith had 13 points.
In Christchurch, the SIT Zerofees Sharks have won their second straight with a cruisy 108-95 win over the Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams.
Small forward, Orlando Coleman, grabbed 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Alex Pledger also had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds for Southland who move to 2-1 on the road. Coleman had a chippy battle with Rams Winston Shepard who finished the game with a team high 26 points.
Canterbury trailed by nine after the first period, but did fight back to only be down four at halftime. But in the third, the Sharks had their highest scoring quarter, outscoring the home side 35-19. Southland would push their lead to as many as 26, before a spirited fight back from the Rams made the final score semi-respectable.
Tonight, the Rams had no answer in particular to the size of Pledger and athleticism of Coleman, overall the Sharks dominated the boards, winning the battle 54-38. Southland were balanced offensively with all five starters reaching double-digit or more points with the added bonus of 29 bench points.
Rams point guard Xavier Thames added 23 points, Julian Washburn scored 19, and the other notable effort was from young point guard Taylor Britt (nine points) who gave high energy on both ends of the floor.
Southland will now have another stern challenge tomorrow when they play the in form Mike Pero Nelson Giants.
Week 2: Friday, May 4, 2018
At Cowles Stadium, Christchurch
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams 95 (Winston Sheppard III 26, Xavier Thames 23, Julian Williams-Washburn 19)
SIT Zerofees Southland Sharks 108 (Orlando Coleman 24 Jarrad Weeks 17, Alex Pledger 14)
At TSB Stadium, New Plymouth
Augusta Mountainairs 87 (Javonte Douglas 30, Alonzo Burton 14, Xavier Smith 13)
Taylor Hawks 90 (Dion Prewster 25, Angus Brandt 23, Jarrod Kenny 14)