Week Five of the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks Summer League saw the Dunedin Barbarians continue on their winning way and Central Otago bounce back from last week's loss to leapfrog in to second overall with one week of round robin play remaining before the finishing order is determined.
In the early game, Dunedin traveled south with just five players, but that proved to be enough as they sauntered to a fifth-straight victory with a 92-73 win over Southland's Tiger Sharks.
Darcy Knox again showed his class with a sweet outside shot, complemented by an uncanny ability to finish in traffic at the rim. He finished with 26 points to go with 13 rebounds and five assists. Aaron Roydhouse again proved hard to handle on the boards, dominating inside for 21 points and 15 rebounds, whilst the other three starters Mitch Hughan (16 points/7 rebounds), Paden Kennedy (15 points/8 rebounds) and Jo Ahie (14 points/7 rebounds) all featured prominently.
For the Tiger Sharks, Tom Cowie played something of a lone hand at the offensive end. His eye-popping stat line of 38 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists a stand-out with Kalani Grimwood the only other to reach double figures, just missing a deserved double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Earlier Dunedin saw a 10-2 lead from the opening tip evaporate as the Tiger Sharks took a 17-16 lead into the first break but when Dunedin held the locals to just nine second quarter points, whilst adding 24 of their own it looked like another run-away was in prospect. With Cowie at the helm the Tigers claimed the third quarter to close within 8 points at the final break.
But Dunedin's five-some, who had every right to fade down the stretch, cleared out in the fourth for an impressive victory.
In the day's second game, Central Otago set the early running taking a 20-6 quarter time lead over the Mako Sharks and never looking back.
Without Andrew Wheeler, the Makos struggled to get anything going at the offensive end. Central relied heavily on the experience of Sam King and captain Pierre Poyet, both of whom finished with 25 points while Mike Rewi also featured with 10 points and nine rebounds. Christian Alberton was a monster on the boards at both ends, finishing with 16 rebounds.
The Makos, who ended up shooting just 30.9% from the field including an anemic 17.9% from three, lent heavily on former Shark Rhys Smolenski who sparked in the third quarter to finish with a game high 31 points, while Connor Coll added 20 points and 7 rebounds.
POINTS TABLE AFTER WEEK 5
Dunedin Barbarians 4-0 (Point Differential +126)
Central Otago 2-2 (+9)
Mako Sharks 2-3 (-54)
Tiger Sharks 1-4 (-81)
* Dunedin Barbarians v Central Otago from Week 3 still to be played.