The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks took on the Sky Tower Auckland Huskies in the second half of their ’09 roadtrip and head home 1-1 after winnings tonight's clash 102-87.
It was an outstanding all-round performance for the Sharks with six players scoring in double figures. Captain Dom Kelman-Poto with a monster double-double (21 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists) and the hand of Burton (20 points, 6-8 3PM) the standouts.
Right out the gate, it was the men from the deep south with the hot hands, knocking down five early threes and opening their account on a huge 20-4 run.
It took a few minutes, but thanks to the energetic youngster Zach Riley and veteran import Chris Johnson, the Huskies managed to find a way back into the ball game.
Straight out of the first-quarter break there were scenes of deja vu. Two quick triples from the Sharks en route to an 11-3 run forced Huskies Coach Aaron Young to burn a timeout.
However, the Huskies once again found a way to claw their way back into the contest, finding themselves with a nine-point deficit to overcome heading into halftime.
With the hot hand of Alonzo Burton torching the net from three, Johnson and Brook Ruscoe took on the bulk of the scoring load and combined for 20 points at the break.
A back-and-forth start to the third quarter ensured the lead wouldn’t get much bigger.
Both sides kept fighting hard on both ends, but it was the visitors who extended their lead ever so slightly, going into the last spell of action with a comfortable 13-point lead.
Alonzo Burton continued to fire trey bombs, keeping the hot hand, and knocking down a deep triple with around six to go.
The young Huskies side fought tirelessly throughout the contest, but it wasn't enough to take this one out against the Sharks.
Auckland Huskies (87) lost to Southland Sharks (102) - BOXSCORE
Huskies: Chris Johnson (16pts & 4rbs), Sean Murphy (12pts, 10rbs & 3ast), Brook Ruscoe (13pts & 3rbs).
Sharks: Dom Kelman-Poto (21pts, 14rbs & 6ast), Alonzo Burton (20pts & 5ast), Courtney Belger (12pts, 6rbs & 5ast).
1. Alonzo Burton had a huge outing in this one. He was the hot hand from deep that Southland looked to time and time again. After a quiet start in the competition, this 20-point performance may just be the game he needs to find some momentum. Oh yeah, he also knocked down six threes on an efficient 75% from the land of plenty.
2. Six players scored in double digits for the Sharks on Sunday afternoon. All five starters combined for 76 of the team’s points, while Sione Helu had an extremely efficient 13 points (6-6 FG). With 27 assists on the night, the question begs, are the Sharkies the Spurs of the NZNBL?
3. Despite the 15-point loss tonight, one thing that was evident throughout the night was the Huskies ability to fight till the bitter end. Despite giving up runs, and letting in easy points, the young squad continued to find ways to get back into the contest. If the Huskies get into a tight tussle coming down the stretch, that fight, and stick-ability will be the thing that gets them through.
Stuff MVP Votes
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) – 9
Alonzo Burton (Sharks) - 9
Sean Murphy (Huskies) – 5
Brayden Inger (Sharks) – 3
Chris Johnson (Huskies) – 3
Brooke Ruscoe (Huskies) - 1