The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks showed off their defensive class this evening by running away with the victory against the visiting EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls.
Despite shooting less than 50% from the field, the hosts put the clamps on when around their own cylinder and restricted the Bulls to 15 points a quarter in the opening half.
Courtney Belger was at the fore front of the crippling defence, registering four steals for the game and forcing the opposite lead guard into one too many dribbles on numerous occasions.
His efforts were backed up by fellow import, Josh Cunningham, who made a nuisance of himself for anyone tasked with marking him. The big tallied a game-high 22 points on 66% shooting.
The Sharks rolled out of the big break and outscored the away side 29-18, which effectively put the game to bed.
Just as they’d done all season though, the Bulls went down swinging and salvaged some pride by taking out the final spell.
Southland Sharks 101 defeated Franklin Bulls 69 - BOXSCORE
Sharks: Josh Cunningham (22pts & 7rbs), Brayden Inger (18pts & 6rbs), Courtney Belger (13pts & 6ast).
Bulls: Manel Ayol (17pts & 7rbs), Isaac Davidson (11pts & 5rbs), Kyrin Galloway (8pts & 12rbs).
The Sharks notched a respectable 53 points by the time they split for oranges, but what was more impressive was how they kept the Bulls to 30. It took until roughly the halfway point in the second quarter for the visitors to score before end of the half.
Courtney Belger is the epitome of a silent worker. Amongst all the chaos that there is in a game of hoops, there’s a need for someone to run the show. Belger makes sure everyone eats and would probably average a few more assists if more of the Sharks’ shots went in.
Stuff MVP Votes
Josh Cunningham (Sharks-9), Courtney Belger (Sharks-7), Manel Ayol (Bulls-6), Toby Gillooly (Sharks-3), Brayden Inger (Sharks-3), Isaac Davidson (Bulls-2).