It was meant to be tight but it turned out far from it.
The Southland Sharks' have blitzed the Super Rangers 100-73 in the National Basketball League game played at Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland on Saturday night.
The Rangers went into the game with a three win-one loss record, while Southland were two and two.
After a challenging road trip where the Sharks beat a struggling Nelson outfit in overtime, and then lost to Taranaki in New Plymouth, the Sharks quickly made a statement in the opening quarter against the Rangers.
They raced out to a 12-2 lead before the Rangers pegged it back to 14-7.
But by the end of the first quarter, Southland were up by 13 with a 30-17 lead with the Sharks shooting at 62 per cent from the field compared to the Rangers' 29 per cent.
It was much of the same in the second quarter as the Sharks onslaught didn't let up and by halftime they had posted 58 points to lead 58-42.
After a limited play over the past three games because of concussion, Alex Pledger found his groove against the Rangers. By halftime he led the scoring with 16 points, while Luke Aston banged three important first half three-pointers.
At the end of the third quarter it had blown out to a 31 lead with Aston adding two further third quarter three pointers with the Sharks going into the final quarter with an 86-55 lead.
To the Rangers credit they did win a low-scoring final quarter 18-14 as Sharks coach Judd Flavell went deep into his bench.
Much to the delight of the Invercargill crowd it was hometown hero Andrew Wheeler who scored on the buzzer to bring up the 100 points for the Sharks as finished 100-73 winners.
Meanwhile, the Wellington Saints have continued their winning run at the start of the season with a 114-104 win over the Canterbury Rams.
Corey Webster led the way as per normal with his 31 point haul.
For Canterbury, Marcel Jones led the way with 32 points.
Southland Sharks 100 (Alex Pledger 20, Nick Kay 20, Luke Aston 19, Reuben Te Rangi 11, Hayden Allen 11), Super City Rangers 73 (Nnanna Egwu 24, Earnest Ross 16, Mitchell McCarron 11).
1st Q: 30-13, HT: 58-42, 3rdQ: 86-55
Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times