A SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks selection finished with two losses and some valuable experience for its younger squad members today at Dunedin's Edgar Centre.
The pre-season squad made up of locally-based players lost to a well-drilled Canterbury Knights selection in the early game by 99-62, before backing up and losing to an Otago Nuggets selection 89-83 later this afternoon.
In the first game of the day, Canterbury dominated inside, out-scoring Southland in the paint by 62-24, with six Knights players (Kurt Feneon, Matt Michewski, Mike Karena, Brent Fisher, Zacc Dwan and Taylor Britt) registering double figures in points while Karena, Dwan and Nick Erwood doing the same in rebounds.
Canterbury led from wire-to-wire, jumping out to a 15-point quarter-time lead, which had grown to 26 by the half. Southland showed more fight in the final two periods to limit the final margin to 37 points when a total rout appeared on the cards.
For the Sharks selection, finding the bottom of the net proved challenging with the side shooting an anemic 28 percent from the field and 22 percent from beyond the arc.
Connor Coll led Southland's scorers with 14 with Tom Cowie and Tinashe Matambanadza adding 12 a-piece.
Southland then backed up little more than an hour later in an evenly-mated tussle with neighbours Otago.
Southland found their range early, landing five first-quarter three-pointers to stretch out to a 28-17 lead at the first break which they consolidated in the second to lead by 15 at the main break.
That margin was all but wiped out in the third, Otago taking the quarter 30-16 to make it a one-point game heading in to the final ten minutes.
Southland lead by three with 9:07 to play but then went stone cold from the field, missing their next nine field goal attempts over 7 minutes and 43 seconds as Otago went on a 16-1 run before Matambanadza and Cowie brought the lead back to four.
Otago hit their free throws down the stretch and claimed a hard fought 89-83 win.
Matambanadzo led all-scorers with 27 with Cowie (17), Coll (15) and Jordan Murphy (13) all contributing.
For the winners, former Shark Ollie Smith (25), Matt Bardsley (19) and Mattie Stevenson (17 off the bench) played vital hands.