The two Southland teams contesting this year's SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks Summer league faced off in the only Week Three game at ILT Stadium Southland and they did not disappoint, going down to the wire in a entertaining 40-minute contest.
After two blow-out wins last week, this mate-against-mate battle lived up to the billing with the Tiger Sharks holding an 87-84 lead with under three minutes to play. But, in the end, it was the experienced campaigners in the Makos, notably Andrew Wheeler and a returning Rhys Smolenski who made the crucial plays down the stretch as the Makos closed on a 11-0 run to take the game 95-87.
Earlier the Mako Sharks jumped out early to hold a 28/22 lead at the quarter. Jordan Murphy caught fire from long-range, scoring 14 of his team's 22 first quarter points and after starting the second with an 8-0 run and Tiger Sharks held the lead before the Makos closed out the half to lead it by three, 47-44 at the main break.
The Tigers' ill-discipline would prove to be its ultimate undoing. Murphy earning an unsportsmanlike and technical foul late in the second which saw him sit with four personal fouls for the entire third quarter. Even without one of their offensive weapons, the Tiger Sharks lifted in the third with Tom Cowie adding eight points in the quarter to help his team to a 70-67 third quarter advantage, before the Makos got the job done in the final minutes.
Connor Coll was again a threat at both ends, finishing with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Andrew Wheeler 22 and Rhys Smolenski 15 were vital contributions. Tom Cowie was gallant in defeat for the Tiger Sharks with 23 points to go with 7 assists and he was well supported by Jayson Collett's 19 points and 7 rebounds and Jordan Murphy’s 17 first half points.
The Makos move to 2-1 with the Tigers dropping to 0-3