The 2Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers have hung on to topple the Taranaki Steelformers Mountainairs, edging out the visitors 100-91.
The Rangers led by 26 points going into the final quarter, only to squander it and find themselves up five with under two minutes to go. It would have been a remarkable turnaround had the Airs managed to get over the line, but their inability to score when it mattered most drew that to a halt.
Daniel Green go the game rolling with a triple straight off the tip and the Rangers went about scoring by taking high percentage shots. Tim Quarterman picked up right where he left off last week and finished the first period with 10 points, while running mate Venky Jois added four from inside the paint.
There was little the Airs could do to match what the Rangers threw at them in the second but Chris Early held his own and unfortunately was the only one capable of scoring for those in black singlets. Quarterman bumped his points up to 18 to go into the half as the game's leading scorer, while Jois tacked on an extra 10 to his tally and pulled in six more boards to notch a double-double. This saw the hosts go into the break with the score reading 56-35.
Play followed the trend of the first half and with that, the Rangers continued to pile on the points. The lead extended to 26 going into the last period and it seemed as if the Airs were in for back to back 30-point hidings.
Quarterman laid the ball in with ease to open the quarter's play, but from there it was all the Airs. Aaron Bailey-Nowell rattled home a three and swung the momentum in the visitors' favour. 16 unanswered points were scored by the men in black, bringing them to within 12 at the midway point. Quarterman broke the scoring drought for the hosts with another lay-up and stifled the Airs run in what would prove to be crucial going down the stretch.
Derone Raukawa and Bailey-Nowell found ways to get the ball in the hole and by the time the clock had reached the final minute the visitors were only down five. However, Raukawa would miss his next two shot attempts and gift the ball back to Rangers, who ran the clock down and hit there free-throws to secure the win.
Sal's MVP went to Quarterman back up last week's 30-point gig with an other-worldly 38 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block! The case was made on Friday that Jarrad Weeks had the best individual game of the season so far, but today's heroics from the American are definitely on par.
Raukawa and Early put in solid shifts for the Airs but left their push too late in the end. The Tall Black finished with 24 points and eight assists, while the import had 25 to go along with eight rebounds.
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