The SIT Zerofees have opened the season with an impressive 113-108 win over the defending champion Wellington Saints, ending their historic 24 game winning streak.
Jarrad Weeks led the way with 26 points, but overall it was a true team effort for the visitors, seven Sharks scoring double-digits or more.
The last loss for the defending championships was May 22nd, 2016, ironically to the Sharks 78-75.
Sharks head coach Judd Flavell will be pleased with his sides performance after suffering a tough loss to the Hawks the night before. New Sharks import Conor Morgan, was stripped tonight, but due to not being put on the scoresheet was not allowed to play.
It was a high scoring affair from the beginning, Wellington making the first run, going up 13-5, and then 31-27 at the end of the first. But the Sharks would return serve in the second thanks to the play of forward, Tom Vodanovich and Orlando Coleman, taking two point lead at half time.
In the second half the Sharks would push their lead to nine in the later stages of the fourth, but mini fight back from Wellington got them to within four thanks to a crafty set play out of the time put which saw LJ Peak go back door for an alley opp. But four straight free throws from Weeks were able to seal the game for the visitors.
Shea Ili carried the Saints tonight with 32 points and 10 assists, and fellow Tall Black team mate Jordan Ngatai added 24. Saints new import, LJ Peak added 17, but struggled with early foul trouble playing only 22 minutes.
In Christchurch the Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams have opened their season with a solid 100-95 win over the 2 Cheap Care Supercity Rangers. Winston Shepard III made an impressive debut for the home side tallying 27 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. The young Rams squad was carried by their import trio, Xavier Thames scoring 21 points, and Julian Williams-Washburn adding 14.
17 year-old forward, Max Darling, started for the Rams and notched 11 points and eight rebounds.
Canterbury put on a dominant fourth quarter outscoring the Rangers 33-22, pushing their lead to as many as 12, preventing any Rangers comeback.
Lindsay Tait nearly notched a double-double with 19 points and nine assists, and imports Clayton Wilson had 21 points, and Okesene Ali added 18 points and ten rebounds for the Rangers who will now travel to Nelson to play the Giants tomorrow.
Week 1: Friday, April 27th
At TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
Wellington Saints 108 (Shea Ili 32, Jordan Ngatai 24, LJ Peak 17)
SIT Zerofees Sharks 113 (Jarrad Weeks 26, Orlando Coleman 16, Derone Raukawa 16)
At Cowles Stadium, Christchurch
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams 100 (Winston Shepard III 27, Xavier Thames 21, Julian Williams-Washburn 14)
2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers 95 (Clay Wilson 21, Lindsay Tait 19, Okesene Ale 18)