Sharks win delights vocal home crowd
The Southland Sharks have produced their most important win of the 2013 National Basketball League season to date with a 110-81 win over the Manawatu Jets in Invercargill.
The two teams went into the game locked up in the points standings sitting fourth and fifth in the competition.
The stakes were high with the winner grabbing the box seat in a race to a play-off spot heading into the home straight in the round-robin series.
Much to the delight of a vocal home crowd, which again was about 1500, it was the Sharks who delivered a killer blow.
Southland were very impressive in doing as well.
Southland set the mood from the outset stamping their mark in style in the first quarter.
The charge was lead by that man Braswell as he put up 10 first quarter points as the Sharks shot out to a 26-18 lead in the first period.
The foot was firmly on the pedal in the second quarter as well as Leon Henr took the reins in the scoring department.
Henry was exceptional putting up 12 second-quarter points as the Sharks stretched out to 59-33 halftime lead.
The Sharks were not as slick in the third quarter as Manawatu stormed back into the contest and were within in striking distance at one stage before the lead stretched back out to 82-62 at end of the third quarter.
The intensity in the game heated up in the final quarter when a stoush broke out which ended up with both coaches on court in amongst it.
The Sharks players and coach Paul Henare objected to a shot by Manawatu's Miles Pearce which sent both teams into a push-and-shove session.
Pearce received a technical foul for his troubles to the delight of the home crowd which seemed to enjoy the firey exchange.
All the talking, however, was being done on the scoreboard as the Sharks never let this game slip pushing out to the 110-81 win.
The Sharks were good but probably none were as good as Henry and Braswell as they turned on a masterclass.
It's a performance to be pleased with and the Sharks now enter their final seven games with confidence and in a good position at fourth on the table.
However the catch is six of those games are away from home.
The Sharks are zero-and-two to date away from home and were poor in losing both games to Otago and Hawke's Bay.
The one remaining home game they do have is against the top-of-the-table Otago Nuggets,
It's a game that is likely to pull in a big crown given both teams are title contenders and there is the neighbourly rival attached to it.