The Southland Sharks have bounced back with a thrilling 97-78 win against a short-handed Manawatu Jets team in Palmerston North tonight, a night after falling to the Bulls in Auckland.
Alonzo Burton led the way with 20 points and six rebounds, including a triple in the first quarter which extended his record to 10 straight made 3-pointers to start the season. He ended the night shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 50 percent from the field, in another typically efficient performance.
Supporting Burton was Brayden Inger (13 points, five rebounds, two blocks) who made several big shots throughout the game, and the athletic presence of Mojave King (16 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals) – the 19-year-old guard now leading the Sharks in scoring this season with 21.3 PPG, fourth-best in the Sal’s NBL. Big man Romaro Gill also chipped in with a solid 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, deterring countless more shots due to his imposing defensive presence.
The Jets were paced by the trio of Tukaha Cooper (15 points, five rebounds), Tama Faamausili (12 points, six rebounds) and Jacob Collis (eight points, 11 rebounds), who all made vital contributions off the bench – which saw the Jets' subs score 53 points, compared to 25 points from their starting unit.
Starters Klein Salmon and Pafe Momoisea also chipped in for 10 and nine points, respectively.
The Sharks dominated the first quarter to go up 31-14; however the Jets would keep it respectable in the second to 33-48 at the half – with Collis scoring all eight of his points in the quarter. But Southland would pull away in the second half, led by a pair of impressive scoring runs; Gill with eight straight points to start the third quarter and sub Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape with seven straight to cap the same period off.
The loss drops the young Jets – who are yet to field any imports this season - to 0-2 and near the bottom of the table. Meanwhile the Sharks now sit second on the ladder with a healthy 2-1 record, all the while leading the Sal’s NBL in scoring (96 PPG), 3PT% (46.7%) and FG%.
Despite the loss, the Jets played with more confidence in their second game, which bodes well for the young team. They held their own on the boards – gathering 45 rebounds to 46 from the Sharks - and with a healthy contribution from their bench (53 points on 47% shooting).
SCORE: Sharks 97, Jets 78
Sharks: Burton 20 PTS & 6 REB | Mojave 16 PTS & 5 REB & 6 ASS | Gill 14 PTS & 9 REB & 2 BLK | Inger 13 PTS & 5 REB & 2 BLK
Jets: Cooper 15 PTS & 5 REB | Faamausili 12 PTS & 6 REB | Collis 8 PTS & 11 REB
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) - 7 votes
Brayden Inger (Sharks) - 5 votes
Mojave King (Sharks) - 5 votes
Alonzo Burton (Sharks) - 4 votes
Lukah Richards (Jets) - 3 votes
Pafe Momoisea (Jets) - 2 votes
Klein Salmon (Jets) - 2 votes
Jacob Collis (Jets) - 1 vote
Tama Faamausili (Jets) - 1 vote
Jets - May 13 vs. Canterbury Rams
Sharks - May 12 vs. Hawkes Bay Hawks