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Local slugfest in penultimate Summer League week

Dunedin maintained its undefeated record and the Mako Sharks outlasted their local rivals in today’s two SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks Summer League games at ILT Stadium Southland.

In the early game, Dunedin Barbarians banked it’s fifth victory from as many starts with a comfortable 92-82 win over Central Otago.

In its first meeting between the two teams after the first clash was cancelled due to player unavailability, Central’s size and experience saw them take a two-point lead into the first quarter before Dunedin stretched out to a seven goal buffer at the main break.

Central closed to as close as four points early in the third before a 9-0 run from Dunedin gave them the breathing space they needed to calk up another in the win column. Hamish Robertson led the Barbarians with a game-high 32 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He was ably assisted by Mitch Hughan (17p/6r) and Aaron Roydhouse (14p/4r/6a).

Central, without former Otago Nugget Sam King, fought valiantly and got strong efforts from captain Pierre Poyet (20p/7r/7a), Laine O’Connell (19p/5r/3stl) and Callum O’Connell (18p/5a).

Meanwhile the late game between the two Southland squads was a slug-fest.

Not always pretty, the game did not lack for intensity as the Makos lead from start to finish but had to withstand a withering third quarter comeback from the Tiger Sharks before ultimately prevailing.

The Makos looked to have put the game to bed by halftime, holding a 46-26 lead at the main break. That was until Tom Cowie went on an absolute tear, scoring 15 in the quarter to bring his side within seven at three quarter time.

That would however prove to be as close as they got as the Makos experienced heads of Connor Coll (31p/15r), Andrew Wheeler (22p/7r/4a) and Rhys Smolenski (13p/9r/3stl) saw them home.

For the second week in a row Cowie stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 38p to go with 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals while Cam Archer was a point away from a double-double, finishing with 9 points and 11 rebounds.

The final week of the Summer League is likely to feature just one game. Dunedin look unlikely to travel south with the Otago Nuggets scheduling conditioning on Saturday, meaning the only game is likely to be Central Otago v Tiger Sharks at 2pm.

POINTS TABLE AFTER WEEK 6 Dunedin Barbarians 5-0 (Point Differential +136) Mako Sharks 3-3 (-43) Central Otago 2-3 (-1) Tiger Sharks 1-5 (-92)

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