Sharks win two, lose two
The Southland Sharks finished with a two-win, two-loss record in their pre-season tournament hitout in Wellington at the weekend as they fine-tune their game in the leadup to the 2014 National Basketball League opener next month.
Nine teams were in Wellington during the weekend for the pre-season fixtures.
Southland lost 68-57 to the Manawatu Jets in the first game on Saturday before beating Waikato 62-39 later in the day.
Yesterday, the Southland side beat Nelson 46-41 before rounding out the weekend with a 65-54 loss to Hawke's Bay.
Southland were missing key players Reuben Te Rangi and Brian Conklin from the weekend's games.
Te Rangi is on a two-week stand-down following the Australian National Basketball League season and will join the Sharks just in time for their first game, against the Otago Nuggets in Invercargill on April 4.
Conklin is nursing a hamstring injury he picked up playing for the Townsville Crocs in the ANBL, and Sharks coach Paul Henare said it was "touch and go" whether Conklin would be fine to line up in the first game of their title defence.
Henare joined the team for just yesterday's games in Wellington and will return to Auckland for "review week" this week with the Breakers before he joins the Sharks in Invercargill on March 31.
Henare was happy with what he saw yesterday and was not too concerned about results in pre-season, as was the case last season.
"It was a good chance to get some games together as a group. We're still waiting for Reuben, we're still waiting for Brian, but the rest of the group are here," he said.
"As I said last year, pre-season isn't about wins and losses, it's about getting through some systems and being together as a team. I'm happy with the weekend and I'm happy with how the boys are going."
Southland have not scheduled another pre-season game before the opener.
Traditionally, the Sharks have played Otago in a warmup game but because Otago are the opposition for game one, Henare wasn't all that keen on playing them and giving too much away.
- The Southland Times