The Sal's NBL continues to throw up thrillers and the Friday night clash between the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks and Property Brokers Manawatu Jets was yet another one.
The Sharks came in with six straight wins, the Jets also in a little form having won their last two games.
The first half was a mixed bag, the Sharks winning the first quarter 30-17 before the Jets surprised the home team by storming back with a 35-20 second quarter. The visitors leading the contest 52-51 after a very entertaining opening half.
DeAndre Daniels, Daishon Knight and Shane Temara were all active and proving to be a handful for the in-form Sharks, while import duo Josh Cunningham and Courtney Belger were doing their best alongside Dom Kelman-Poto for the home team.
By the end of the third period the game was all squared-up at 76 points apiece with multiple lead changes. Both teams were showing collective efforts with four players each in double-digit scoring.
Daniels continued to be effective at both ends of the floor for the Jets, while for the Sharks it was quickly becoming a big night for Belger.
The last quarter strated with a pair of Daniels' triples, while back the other way Belger added four points of his own.
With just over seven minutes to play the Jets registered their fourth team foul, a dangerous sign as the home team upped the ante with multiple drives to the hoop. With the advantage it didn't take long for the Sharks to sneak ahead, leading 91-87 with just under five minutes to play.
Not to be denied the Jets stay in touch with Daniels continuing to pour in points along with Knight, but neither had an answer for Belger and his hot shooting stroke from the top of the key where he drained multiple threes from.
An Alonzo Burton triple a minute from home put the Sharks up 101-95 and just when it was most needed the Jets couldn't find a basket.
The final nail came moments later when Burton dropped another long-range dagger.
At the final buzzer it was a Sharks win 104-97, stretching their success streak to seven straight games and ensuring they remain top of the Sal's NBL ladder for another week.
Southland Sharks (104) lost to Manawatu Jets (97) - BOXSCORE
Sharks: Dom Kelman-Poto (22pts, 11rbs), Courtney Belger (22pts, 11ast), Josh Cunningham (19pts, 13rbs), Brayden Inger (14pts, 8rbs), Alonzo Burton (13pts).
Jets: DeAndre Daniels (34pts, 11rbs, 4blks, 5 treys), Daishon Knight (28pts, 9ast), Shane Temara (20pts).
DeAndre Daniels came to play. His recent form has been good, but tonight's performance was great. Right from the start the talented American was on song and by game's end he had landed 34 points at 75% (12/16 shooting). He also delivered 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 5 triples.
Courtney Belger continues to rise, his ability to score and create points is sky-high right now. His performance in this one was top shelf.
Josh Cunningham has been a bit of a quiet achiever of late, doing what is needed to get wins, but yet again he reminded us not to sleep on him. His double-double was impressive.
Stuff MVP Votes
Courtney Belger (Sharks) 9
DeAndre Daniels (Jets) 7
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) 5
Josh Cunningham (Sharks) 5
Daishon Knight (Jets) 4