Southland Sharks defeat Jets on the road

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2014

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American guard Kevin Braswell has broken his own Southland Sharks franchise record to propel his team to a National Basketball League win over Manawatu in Palmerston North last night.

Braswell shot a record 39 points in his team's 96-81 win over Manawatu, which takes Southland to a two-win, two-loss loss record through the first four games of the 2014 NBL season.

The classy display follows his 30-point haul against the Super City Rangers in Invercargill the week before, in which he was judged the competition's player of round two. He is now odds on to take out the round-three honour.

The Sharks went into last night's showdown in Palmerston North wounded after being comfortably dispatched by competition favourites Wellington, 94-76, the night before in the capital.

The Sharks came up short in most areas against Wellington, as the likes of Corey Webster and Lindsay Tait well and truly won the 2013 semifinal rematch.

To return home with zero points from their two-game road trip would have been disaster for the defending champions but they showed little after-effects of the loss to Wellington just 24 hours earlier.

The teams traded shots throughout the first quarter last night but the Sharks were able to grab a early 24-20 lead over Manawatu at the end of the first period.

The visitors then went on to win all of the following three quarters with the home crowd watching on as veteran Braswell delivered a master-class in shooting.

He shot six from nine attempts from the three-point line and landed all nine of his shots from the free throw line.

Braswell's partner in crime in the points-scoring department last night was the ever consistent youngster Reuben Te Rangi.

Te Rangi was also impressive, contributing 24 points

In other NBL games last night, Hawke's Bay beat the Super City Rangers 99-81 and Nelson toppled Taranaki 92-76.

The Sharks' next game will be against Hawke's Bay in Invercargill next Saturday night for the start of an important four game stretch at home.

Many eyes will be on Brian Conklin to see whether the American import is fit to return for the game against Hawke's Bay as first hoped.

Conklin has missed the Sharks' past three games because of a hamstring injury.

While replacement Dave Gruber has been handy, it is obvious Conklin adds bite to the Sharks, especially when they struggled against Wellington on Thursday night.

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- The Southland Times

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