Wellington Saints fell Nelson's Giants in style

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 21:44 28/06/2013
Bryant Markson and Josh Pace
Photosport
WATCH OUT: Saints import Bryant Markson swings an elbow in the face of Nelson's Josh Pace during their NBL encounter. The Saints defeated the Giants 104-99.

Relevant offers

Not many teams could overcome the loss of Lindsay Tait and carry on winning.

But so stacked with talent are this year's Wellington Saints they were able to knock over fellow heavyweights Nelson Giants 104-99 tonight without their star playmaker.

Tait was ruled out of the game at TSB Bank Arena due to a chipped bone in his left thumb, suffered in Tuesday's win over Waitakere.

The Saints are waiting on medical reports to learn how long he will be sidelined for but the point guard is likely to wear a cast if necessary and play in next month's Final Four.

His absence meant Corey Webster and Dillon Boucher shared ball handling duties and while the journey up court wasn't always pretty they got the job done against some fierce Giants pressure.

Webster (32 points) also carried a big scoring load, while Rick Rickert proved he is a cut above the NBL, feasting on the undersized Giants for 33 points and 15 rebounds, missing only three shots from the floor.

The American centre had called for a killer instinct and he backed it up, chest thumping and screaming as he made big play after big play.

His team-mates followed and on a red letter day for Kiwi basketball it was appropriate the Saints celebrated Steven Adams' NBA call-up with a rousing performance.

Coach Pero Cameron had them wired and while the Giants led early and fought back strongly late the hosts remain top of the table with a 12-2 record.

The pace was frantic right from the tip off and players were gasping for air at the end of the first quarter.

The intensity was a complete contrast to Tuesday's romp as two talented and well-coached teams went at it.

Back to back Jordan Mills threes gave the Saints a seven point edge at halftime, and Mika Vukona then compounded Nelson's woes by falling into foul trouble.

The Giants - who launched a massive comeback to defeat the Saints in Nelson earlier this season - fought back gamely and a Josh Pace floater cut the lead to four with 20 seconds to play.

But the Saints hung on and now fly south to play the second-placed and well rested Otago Nuggets in Dunedin on Sunday.

It may well decide the regular season title and the big question is how much the Saints have left in the tank.

Also tonight, fourth-placed Southland exploded for a 39 point fourth quarter to defeat Manawatu 94-89 and move to 10-3, four points clear of the fifth-placed Jets.

Ad Feedback

Wellington Saints 104 (Rick Rickert 33, Corey Webster 32, Bryant Markson 20) Nelson Giants 99 (Josh Pace 23, Erron Maxey 21, Mika Vukona 21). 1Q: 24-25, HT: 55-48, 3Q: 81-69

- Fairfax Media

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Has Judith Collins' resignation affected your vote this month?

Yes - now I can vote National again

Yes - can't touch National this time around

Yes - I'm just not sure who to trust anymore

No - it's already water under the bridge

Vote Result

Related story: National caught deep in the mire

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Family Notices
Deaths - dom

Death Notices

View obituaries from around the region.

Celebrations - Dom

Celebrations

View marriage and birth notices from around the region.

Follow us
DPT SM ICONS

Contact us Dominion

• Reporters: News, Business, Sport, Features
• Newsroom 0800 366 7678
• Website ideas:
Email or tweet us
• Place an ad: Email or call 04 474 0000
• Subscribe: Email or call 0800 50 50 90
• No paper: Call 0800 50 50 90
Start or stop your paper
• View the Digital Edition
• Make dompost.co.nz your homepage