The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks have opened the NBL Blitz with a narrow one point win over the Taranaki Mountainairs tonight in Palmerston North.
Head Coach Judd Flavell was pleased to see his charges put under pressure during the game.
"It was good to see them have to fight it out in a game that came down to the final few possessions," Flavell said.
"No one really ever got away from each other in the game. We were short on numbers with Reubs (Reuben Te Rangi) and Chief (Alex Pledger) sitting it out and Taranaki were experimenting with their line-ups rolling five-on and five-off."
"It was great for Lydon (Aoake), Connor (Coll) and Tinashe (Matambanadzo) to get good minutes out there. We saw positive performances from all three. Connor was particularly impressive, knocking down shots, going after loose balls and he had a real presence on the floor. You could really see him growing in confidence."
The Sharks lost American import Orlando Coleman in the second quarter who showed his athletic prowess in the opening period before having his cheek opened up by a Taranaki elbow. It is likely that Flavell will take a cautious approach and sit Coleman for the rest of the weekend.
"It was a shame because Orlando was just starting to get into it. He made a couple of plays where he showed his athleticism and how exciting he is going to be, but we will likely sit him for the rest of the weekend."
The Sharks next face the Supercity Rangers tomorrow morning at 10am, followed by the Manawatu Jets at 7pm.
SHARKS v AIRS BOXSCORE