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Sharks too slick for Airs

Despite being down on playing stocks the Southland Sharks have blitzed the Taranaki Mountain Airs 97-67 in the National Basketball League game played in Invercargill.

Southland were a little skinny in their playing depth with front line players Duane Bailey and Hayden Allen both rested with niggly injuries.

However, it made little impact with Southland still too slick.

The Sharks went on a 6-0 run to start the game before Taranaki themselves took charge going on their own seven-point streak to take the lead 7-6.

However, by the end of the first quarter the Sharks had a 10 point lead at 24-14.

By halftime it had blown out to a 22 point margin as Taranaki struggled to stay with the Sharks.

While Southland were shooting at 60 percent from the field Taranaki were at just 31 percent.

Reuben Te Rangi led the charge for the Sharks with his 13 first half points which was on the back of his five from six from the field.

What made it even more difficult for Taranaki to get going is the were also battling in the rebounding department with Southland's 31 boards to 15 in the first half.

There was no let up with Southland winning the third quarter 27-11 to push the score out to 77-39.

Southland were able to introduce one of New Zealand basketball's more promising talents into the game two minutes into the final quarter in the form of 16-year-old Tom Cowie.

In fact all of Southland's promising talent got some valuable court time late in the game.

With the regular starters on the bench the damage in the final quarter it wasn't as nasty for Taranaki with the visitors winning the fourth quarter 28-20.

Southland had six players reach double figures topped by Te Rangi's 21 point haul.

Alex Pledger and James Hunter both posting double-doubles, while Nick Kay went just one rebound short of joining them.

Interestingly Curtis Washington was cut by the Nelson Giants during the week but was quickly snapped up by Taranaki and fronted against Southland but had little impact on the game.

In fact there was little too excited to get about on the Taranaki front with Xavier Shaw and Houston O'Riley chipping in with 11 points each.

The Southland Sharks now turn their sights on the Canterbury Rams in Invercargill next Friday night, a showdown which is expected to be much tighter.

For Taranaki they have little time to reflect on the disappointing Friday night's game against Southland as they head to Nelson to take on the Giants on Saturday night to round out a South Island double header.

There will be plenty of interest in how Washington performs for Taranaki against the team which this week cut him.

In the other NBL game played on Friday night Hawke's Bay toppled the Super City Rangers 101-95, despite Mitchell McCarron posting 31 points for

Southland Sharks 97 (Reuben Te Rangi 21, Alex Pledger 16, James Hunter 14, Nick Kay 14, Derone Raukawa 13, Mitch Norton 10), Taranaki Mountain Airs 67 (Xavier Shaw 11, Houston O'Riley 11).

1stQ: 24-14, HT: 50-28. 3rdQ: 77-39.

Image and article courtesy of The Southland Times

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