Southland Sharks spoil party for Giants legend
The Nelson Giants were attempting to produce a win for the legend of the team tonight but it was the Southland Sharks who spoilt the party 94-83 in the National Basketball League game played in Invercargill.
Phill Jones was remarkably playing in his 350th game for the Nelson franchise and his team got off to the best start to lead 29-23 after the first quarter.
However it was the second period where the hometown found their mojo and in the wash up won the game.
The Sharks won the second quarter 29-10 which included going on a 20 zip run sparked by the energy of youngster Shea Ili who contributed 10 points in that quarter.
They led 52-39 at the halftime break and while Nelson traded shots in the second half, every time they looked to be making a surge Southland did enough to quash it.
The wrapped up the game and highlighted why they have a shot at defending the title they won last year.
The victory over Nelson also marked the return of American import Brian Conklin much to the delight of the Sharks fans.
Conklin had missed five of the Sharks six games up until tonight because of a hamstring injury but made a more than impressive win contributing a game high 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Sharks will attempt to make three wins in a row at home when they host the Waikato Pistons on Friday night.
Southland Sharks 94 (Brian Conklin 21, Kevin Braswell 17, Reuben Te Rangi 16) Nelson Giants 83 (Josh Pace 20, Phill Jones 16, Josh Bloxham 12). 1Q: 23-29, HT: 52-39, 3Q: 78-64