Victories for Team Blue and Team Orange on the second night of the Sharks Summer League tonight at ILT Stadium Southland.
After two games, Orange are the only undefeated team following its 87-82 victory over a gallant Team Black.
Meanwhile Team Blue opened its account with a hard fought 68-60 win over Team White. White exploded early, jumping out to a 13-3 lead before Blue worked their way into the contest and thanks to a late Andrew Wheeler three, closed the deficit to just four at the quarter break, 17-13.
Blue then scored the first five of the second quarter to grab its first lead of the game. They lead 28-26 at the main break, thanks in a large part to Sam Lindsay’s outside shooting but at three quarter time it was still anyone’s game with Blue having their noses in front 44-43.
A strong Blue finish closed the game out to take the contest by 8. Wheeler controlled the game well and scored points when his team needed them, Lindsay shot the ball well and was a constant pest on defence while Sam Hodges altered a lot of shots in the paint. Luka Williams ran the point well for White and created well off penetration.
In the late game Orange led for 40 minutes, but struggled to put a plucky Black away as the youngster hung in the contest and took it into the final minute. The game finished closer than it started, with Black struggling to get anything to drop in the opening five minutes for the second week in a row. Orange led 15-2 at one stage and by 26-11 after the first quarter.
Black then went on a run of its own, 10-0 to bring the margin back to five with Keegan Irwin and Connor Coll leading the way. That five-point margin held to halftime with Orange leading the contest 43-38.
Orange had every chance to end the game as a contest in the third, blowing out to lead by as many as 15, but a late Black run kept the game alive at three-quarter time at 68-60.
Mac Stodart drained back-to-back threes to close the margin to seven with a little over four minutes to play before Rhys Smolenski settled Orange with a three-ball of his own.
The teams traded blows until Coll and Irwin scored in quick succession to make it 86-82 inside the final minute with possession before a big Tom Cowie block with 20 seconds remaining and an Orange stop on defence ended the contest.
Stodart was strong all night, inside and out and shot the ball well for the Black team while Coll was efficient around the rim.
For the victors, Cowie facilitated well and got his team mates great looks while Smolenski blew the game apart, hitting the perimeter three at will.
The League takes a one week break next week, before resuming on Thursday 23 November with the final round-robin games with White (1-1) taking on Orange (2-0) and Black (0-2) facing Blue (1-1).