Posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2019
Saints March On Towards Final 4
The Wellington Saints delivered a sublime second half to down the Manawatu Jets 107-82, especially at the defensive end where the visitors could only manage 28pts as the barnstorming Saints racked up 56pts back the other way.
With 13 straight wins the Saints will now prepare for R12 here they are slated to play at Hawke's Bay (2nd) on Saturday night, before heading back to the nation's capital to host Canterbury (3rd) on Sunday. It looms as the biggest weekend of the regular season.
The Jets showed plenty of gumption in the first half and went into the long break with a 54-51 lead on the back of some impressive shooting by Daishon Knight and more athletic heroics by Wally Ellenson.
The break was timely and no doubt it provided coach Paul Henare with a chance to remind his chargers where they sat on the ladder compared to the Jets. As the second half started you could sense that Henare also pleaded for a focus on defence after giving up 54pts in the first half.
With the Jets now struggling to score the Saints, led by Nick Kay, started adding points at will. With their transition game going up a notch the Jets simply couldn't keep up, their task all the harder given Kuran Iverson didn't suit-up.
Six Saints reached double digits, again highlighting the even spread the title favourites hold, while Sunday Dech delivered a defensive edge that was once again an infectious reminder to his teammates that they needed to tighten the screws.
Wellington Saints 107 defeated Manawatu Jets 85
Saints - Jordan Ngatai 20pts, Nick Kay 18pts & 14rbs, Rob Loe 17pts & 11rbs
Jets - Daishon Knight 33pts, Wally Ellenson 20pts.
Stats That Matter - the Saints dropped 60pts in the paint as Kay and Loe continually helped themselves to easy baskets, both on lay-ups and put-backs.
TAB MVP Votes - Daishon Knight (Jets) 9, Nick Kay (Saints) 8, Rob Loe (Saints) 7, Jordan Ngatai (Saints) 3, Wally Ellenson (Jets) 3.
1. The Saints stepped out after half-time with a defensive edge that coach Paul Henare will be hoping his team holds all the way from here. After giving up 54pts in the first half, the Saints were ruthless at the defensive end after the break as the Jets continually struggled to score and were held to just 28pts.
2. Nick Kay showed all the class that has him touted as one of the main candidates for this season's TAB MVP Award. Rarely does the star Aussie make bad decisions or throw the ball away. Yet again when the Saints needed momentum, Kay stepped up and delivered.
3. With Kuran Iverson ruled out, Daishon Knight and Wally Ellenson went to work and gave the fans plenty of highlights, especially in the first half. By the final buzzer the star duo had scored 53 of their team's 82pts.
(photo credit: Photosport NZ)