Pirates end Jets' NBL season

FINALS BOUND: Pirates' Alex Pledger in action.
FINALS BOUND: Pirates' Alex Pledger in action.

The Auckland Pirates put an end to the Manawatu Jets' season with a 104-88 win in their NBL semifinal in Wellington.

The Jets had kept in touch, and even led the Pirates in the first half, but without big Jets forward Nick Horvath on court in the third quarter, Auckland took charge.

Horvath was benched because he was on four fouls so sat out most of the third quarter which Auckland took advantage of.

The star-studded Auckland side showed their class with five guys, Lindsay Tait (14), Alex Pledger (25), Hayden Allen (12), Ismail Muhammad (23) and Ron Dorsey (17) in double figures as they finished the stronger of the two sides.

Auckland's shooting per cent of 60 was the difference, as Manawatu only shot at 40.

Manawatu started well and led for brief periods in the first and second quarter but once Auckland got the Jets in a stranglehold, they never looked back.

Auckland led by four at halftime and took control after that through Pledger and Tall Black point guard Lindsay Tait.

Without Horvath on court, the Jets struggled on defence as the Pirates piled on 31 points in the third quarter and shot out to a 15-point lead at the end of the third spell.

At 2.15m tall, it was always going to be hard to keep New Zealand Breaker Pledger out of the game and they didn't have an answer for him in the paint.

Josh Pace was the Jets' best with 23 points and Chris Hagan (17), Zane Meehl (15), Horvath (12) and Jeremiah Trueman all chipped in.

Manawatu Standard