A fourth quarter blitz has given the Southland Sharks a 105-94 win over the Canterbury Rams in National Basketball League action in Invercargill.
The Sharks dominated the first half, but an amazing come back by the Rams in the third quarter made for an exciting conclusion.
"You can do what you want, but eventually they are going to have that run, that is the game of basketball," Southland Sharks coach Judd Flavell said.
"But we were able to for the most part wrestle that, the game of basketball is a game of runs and we ended up making our run at the right time at the end of the game."
The Judd Flavell coached Sharks opened the game with nine unanswered points as the Rams couldn't buy a bucket initially.
The Southland Sharks opened the game with two Nick Kay free throws in the opening minute, before going on a nine-point scoring run as the Rams missed some early long range shots.
The home team extended their lead to 14-2 on the back of some strong defence.
The Sharks fed off Canterbury Rams mistakes and held a 16-5 lead four minutes into the first quarter with the points shared around their players.
The Rams continued to look to their outside shooters to get them back into the game and reduced the score to 18-10.
The Sharks stretched the lead to 24-12, before going into the first quarter break 32-19 ahead.
Duane Bailey and Luke Aston bagged three pointers as the Sharks found their shooting from three point range to take them to a big 51-30 lead after six minutes of the second quarter.
The Rams ate into the deficit with an 11-point run just before halftime to make it 51-41 as they started sinking their shots.
The Sharks went into halftime with a 58-46 lead, with the Sharks hitting 53 percent of their field goals, compared with the Rams who had 17/42 for 40 per cent from the field.
McKenzie Moore had a rough start in his first game back for the Rams with 1/7 in the first half, while Marcel Jones had a game high 12 points in the first two quarters.
Whatever coach Mark Dickel said to the Rams at halftime seemed to spark them into action.
The Rams started the second half strongly and worked their way back into the game.
They reduced the deficit to six points, 64-58 after four minutes of the third quarter before a late flurry saw the Rams level the scores 77-77 thanks to a Jeremy Kendle three pointer at the end of the third quarter.
Southland got back into the lead early in the fourth quarter and raced to an 83-77 lead, much to the delight of the ILT Stadium Southland crowd.
The Sharks managed to stay in front for the rest of the quarter to record a hard fought victory, with Derone Raukawa contributing nine fourth quarter points.
Rams guard Marcel Jones left the game with an injury with three minutes to go after scoring 29 points, while Kendle grabbed 27 points for the Rams, while seven Sharks finished with double point scores.
The Rams have a short turnaround before playing the Mountain Airs on Sunday, while the Sharks host the Hawks on Thursday night at Stadium Southland.
Southland Sharks 105 (Derone Raukawa 18, Alex Pledger 18, Mitch Norton 14, Luke Aston 13), Canterbury Rams 94 (Marcel Jones 29, Jeremy Kendle 27, McKenzie Moore 11). 1Q: 32-19, HT: 58-46. 3Q: 77-77.
Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times