The Taylor Hawks have moved into fourth spot with a 113-86 romp over the 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers.
The win puts the Hawks at 7-7 and they move into the top four at the expense of the Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams who suffered a tough 102-91 loss to the Mike Pero Nelson Giants. The loss dropping the Rams to 7-7.
Dion Prewster led the Hawks with 25 points, also adding eight assists and five rebounds. Ethan Rusbatch had 23 and Angus Brandt returned from his stint with the Australian Boomers to tally 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Hawks got a big boost from the bench which outscored the Rangers 37-18, former Rangers, Hyrum Harris, scored 14 and Mitch Newton had 11. It was a game that the Hawks could ill afford to lose after going down to the Augusta Mountainairs in their last match, and tonight they were clinical with 27 assists and only nine turnovers, leading by as many as 30
It is the second straight defeat for the Rangers who drop to 2-12. The one bright spot was the play of rookie forward, Dominque Kelman-Poto, who had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, Marcel Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Clay Wilson added 16.
In Christchurch, Canterbury suffered their third straight defeat going down to the Giants who would have been hurting from their effort the night before in the loss to the Sharks.
Finn Delany seems to like playing at Cowles stadium, as he backed up his 40 point haul last season to have 30 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Jerry Evans also chipped in with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Nelson would lead by as many as 24 points, before a late flurry from the home side in the fourth closed the gap to 11. It was going to be a tough game for the Rams who were without point guard, Xavier Thames, for the week. Thames did have a replacement in former Giant, Raymond Cowells, who did score a team high 19 points.
Michael Karena was the next best with 17 points off the bench, and Winston Shepard had 15, but was kept to 4-for-12 from the field.
The Giants move to second place at 11-3, and are tightly chasing the tails of the first placed Cigna Saints who go to 12-2 after a 113-93 win over the Go Media Jets in Whanganui.
Wellington only held a three point lead at halftime, but a 37-23 third quarter saw them run away with a comfortable win.
LJ Peak led the way with a season high 38 points for the Saints which included 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. Shea Ili had 23 points, and Leon Henry would add 18.
Both Daishon Knight and Kuran Iverson each scored 30 for the Jets, but tonight they also got valuable contributions from Brandon Lucas (12 points) and rookie, Troy Temara, who in a start for the Jets scored 14 points and had nine rebounds.
The loss puts the Jets on par with the Rangers at the bottom of the table, but they move ahead due to holding the tiebreaker. The two teams will meet in Palmerston in the last round of the season which could determine who avoids the wooden spoon.
The win for Wellington seals a final four spot, but they will have no rest as they now travel up to New Plymouth where they will face the Augusta Mountainairs (3-9) tomorrow at 7pm.
Week 11: Saturday, July 7
At Cowles Stadium, Christchurch
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams 91 (Ray Cowells 19, Michael Karena 17, Winston Shepard III 15)
Mike Pero Nelson Giants 102 (Finn Delany 30, Jerry Evans Jr 24, Kyle Adnam 18)
At Springvale Arena, Whanganui
Go Media Jets 93 (Kuran Iverson 30, Daishon Knight 30, Troy Temara 14)
Cigna Saints 113 (LJ Peak 38, Shea Ili 23, Leon Henry 18)
At Trusts Arena, Auckland
2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers 86 (Dominque Kelman-Poto 19, Marcel Jones 17, Clay Wilson 16)
Taylor Hawks 113 (Dion Prewster 25, Ethan Rusbatch 23, Angus Brandt 18)