The Southland Sharks are back in the winner's circle.
After a mid season run of six straight wins Southland had lost their last three games heading into Friday night's showdown with the Taranaki Mountain Airs in Invercargill to regain that winning feeling again with a 91-70 win.
While the performance wasn't perfectly polished the Sharks did enough to regain that winning feeling running out winners as they inch towards the playoffs.
It was Taranaki who started best putting up the first six points of the night.
Southland themselves were able to go on a 10 point run midway through the first quarter as they went out to a 16-9 lead and by the end of the first quarter led 22-16.
Yet again it was Taranaki to blast past Southland at the start of the second quarter going on a 7-0 run this time to hit the lead at 23-22.
The game was halted midway through the second quarter when veteran hayden Allen took an elbow to the head when he was contesting a rebound. As a result received a nasty cut over his right eye which forced him from the court.
Allen was returning from a groin injury which had sidelined him in recent weeks.
After a patch-up job from the team doc, in true fashion, the determined former Tall Black returned to the court in the second half.
While Taranaki started the second quarter well again they were unable to maintain that pressure as the Sharks took over and by halftime held a 45-33 lead with 47 per cent from the field.
Southland won a low-scoring third quarter 17-15 to push out to 62-48 heading into the final quarter.
The Sharks finished the job in the final quarter to push out to the 91-70 victory.
As tends to the trend the scoring was spread wide for the Sharks with five players posting double figures.
Nick Kay again led the way chipping in with another double-double with his 15 points and 14 rebounds.
James Hunter went close to joining him with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Alex Pledger returned after missing Southland's last game against Canterbury because of concussion and played 11 minutes in the first half but didn't play any part of the game in the second half.
For Taranaki the scoring was also well distributed and Daniel Gomis also recording a double-double.
Taranaki have little time to rest as the travel to Christchurch to play another playoff team in the Canterbury Rams on Saturday night.
For the Sharks, they turn their focus to a trip to Auckland where they will play the Super City Rangers on Monday night.
The Sharks will round out their round-robin campaign with a home game against Hawke's Bay on Sunday, June 11.
Southland Sharks 91 (James Hunter 17, Luke Aston 16, Reuben Te Rangi 15, Nick Kay 15, Derone Raukawa 13), Taranaki Mountain Airs 70 (Aaron Bailey-Nowell 16, Tylor Ongwae 13, Daniel Gomis 13, Alonzo Burton 11.)
1stQ: 22-16, HT: 45-33, 3rdQ: 62-48.
Article courtesy of The Southland Times / Stuff.co.nz