The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks sent their home fans happy for the second time this season with a comfortable 101-92 win over the Mike Pero Nelson Giants at ILT Stadium Southland.
The Giants, playing their third game in four days, and less than 24 hours removed from an overtime win in Dunedin over the Nuggets, got off to a fast start. A move to full court pressure from the Sharks started to force turnovers though, and the Sharks battled to a 2-point lead at quarter time, with Brayden Inger feeling it from beyond the arc. The pain was compounded for the Giants with captain Sam Dempster copping an elbow to the head on a rebound, ending his night. With Anzac Rissetto already not playing due to concussion, the Giants big men stocked were depleted.
The pressure maintained in the second and third quarters and the fatigue started to show. The Giants committing turnover after turnover under duress from the impressive Sharks defence. Inger continued to stay hot, and he was joined by Courtney Belger and Dominique Kelman-Poto as the home team won the second term by 10 points and the third by 11 to lead 87-64 at three quarter time.
Mike Fitchett sat imports Donte Ingram and Hunter Hale in the fourth, instead trusting an all-local line-up with the near impossible task of coming back from a 23 point deficit in 10 minutes. Nic Trathen and Bronson Beri found rhythm and it was the Sharks turn to go on a run of turnovers. The Giants getting back within 11, but it was too little too late, with Dom Kelman-Poto on hand to complete another impressive game in orange and lock in the victory. The Sharks improve to 4-3, while the 3-5 Giants now have 7 straight games at home.
Southland Sharks (101) beat Nelson Giants (92) - BOXSCORE
Sharks: Brayden Inger 27pts 6rbs 3ast, Dominique Kelman-Poto 22pts 8rbs, Courtney Belger 19pts 9ast
Giants: Nic Trathen 17pts 6rbs, Hunter Hale 18pts, Donte Ingram 15pts, Bronson Beri 16pts
• The Sharks, playing only their second game at home this season, love the Shark Tank. Another great crowd at one of the country’s best arenas got behind their lads and helped will them to the win.
• Mike Fitchett would have taken a 2-1 round 4 if offered it before the weekend began. The Giants head home to Nelson with a 3-5 record, and 7 straight home games to come.
• Brayden Inger enjoys playing the Giants. He had 24pts in round 1 and dropped 27 in this one.
Stuff MVP Votes
Brayden Inger (Sharks) 10pts
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) 7pts
Bronson Beri (Giants) 4pts
Courtney Belger (Sharks) 4pts
Nic Trathan (Giants) 2pts
Donte Ingram (Giants) 2pts
Josh Cunningham (Sharks) 1pt