Easy as Southland Sharks beat Rangers in style

STYLISH: Kevin Braswell has the ball for the Sharks as they registered their first win at the new Stadium Southland.
STYLISH: Kevin Braswell has the ball for the Sharks as they registered their first win at the new Stadium Southland.

The Sharks have opened the account as far as wins go for Southland sporting franchises playing at Invercargill's rebuilt indoor stadium.

And they did it with style tonight.

Just seven days after turning in a disappointing performance in the season-opening 83-77 loss to the Otago Nuggets a much more enthusiastic Sharks team responded with a impressive display against the Super City Rangers.

Breakers star Darryl Corletto, playing for the Rangers, opened the scoring with an early three, but from that point the Sharks took over and looked a team on a mission.

They went on a 14 point run to make it 14-3 and midway through the first-quarter led 20-5.

From there the win never looked in doubt. They turned it on for the 2000-odd people that showed up to run out 117-88 winners.

At one stage the Sharks led by 35 points.

Coming off probably his worst game in Sharks colours last week, where Kevin Braswell scored just five points against the Nuggets, the veteran guard delivered a game-high 30 points and put those bad memories behind him.

Sharks youngster Reuben Te Rangi rubber-stamped his class with a 27 point haul and as normal provided plenty of energy.

Shea Ili, 21, also impressed in his second game for the Sharks. Like Te Rangi he provides plenty of energy.

The Sharks came up short in the rebounding department against Otago last week but last night looked a lot more hungry under the boards. It was big Gareth Dawson who led the way, particularly early in the game.

New import Dave Gruber showed he was a more than adequate replacement for the injured Brian Conklin under the basket.

The blowout scoreline meant coach Paul Henare was able to give all his bench minutes late in the game.

The Sharks now eye a tough doubleheader on the road next weekend against Manawatu and the Wellington Saints.

The Saints (3-0) will provide an ideal gauge as to where the Sharks really are at at this stage of the season.

Southland Sharks 117 (Kevin Braswell 30, Reuben Te Rangi 27, Shea Ili 17, Leon Henry 17) Super City Rangers 88 (Darryl Corletto 21, Eric Devendorf 19, Duane Bailey 17). 1Q: 31-15, HT: 60-43, 3Q: 87-68

The Southland Times