Giants and Saints remain unbeaten

Giants and Saints remain unbeaten

The Mike Pero Nelson Giants and Wellington Saints remain unbeaten with strong wins.

The Giants took advantage of a tired Southland Sharks team that came off a tough loss to the Canterbury Rams the night before.

Nelson also welcomed back franchise player Mika Vukona, the NZ Breakers star coming off the bench to give them 25 minutes.

It was a collective effort from the Nelson starters, four of them scoring over 17 points, centre Josh Duinker leading the way with a team high 20 point on 10-14 shooting.

Both teams shot the ball at a good clip, Nelson at 54% and Southland at 51%. But again Sharks coach Paul Henare was forced to play a six man rotation, which is a difficult proposition on second night of a back to back.

The Sharks didn't make it easy for Nelson, leading by as many as ten in the first half. A strong third quarter by the home side giving them back the lead.

Southland did take a brief two point lead in the early stages of the fourth, but Nelson managed to hold on to a single digit buffer for the majority of the quarter, making crucial plays down the stretch.

Todd Blanchfield again led the way for the Sharks with 27 points, including a much better night from the three point line, converting four from eight.

Kevin Braswell scored 26, also shooting at a good percentage at 55%. Forward Tai Wesley added 19.

It was not a memorable road trip for Southland, but have a great opportunity to get their season back on track when they host Wellington next Saturday. Nelson will face Taranaki at home this coming Saturday.

The surging Saints won their fourth straight and third road win, holding off a spirited Breakers Manawatu Jets 84-72.

Jets fought hard in the first half trailing by only four despite scoring 13 in the second period.

But similar to last night's win to the Hawks, Wellington were able to put together a strong third quarter to take an eleven point lead into the fourth.

Wellington kept their double-digit lead despite Leon Henry and Damien Ekenasio fouling out. The Jets also had two players, Dion Harris and Jeremiah Trueman suffering the same fate.

Tonight it was veteran centre Kareem Johnson who top scored for the Saints with 20 points, also grabbing ten rebounds.

Brook Ruscoe scored a team high 19 for the Jets, but it was a tough night at the office for the team, shooting 32% from the field.

Saints coach Pero Cameron will be pleased to have gained two road wins this weekend, but will be worried about his teams poor free throw shooting, tonight only making 23 of 41.

It won't get much easier for Manawatu (0-3) who host the Rangers (1-1) next Friday, and then embark on another road trip to Christchurch to face the Rams. 

Wellington will play at home to Taranaki on Friday before the Sharks game in Invercargill on Saturday.

Saturday, April 11

Mike Pero Nelson Giants 100 Zerofees Southland Sharks 91

Breakers Manawatu Jets 72 Wellington Saints 84