Sharks rally from 30-point deficit, stun the Airs

TONY BIRD
Last updated 23:55 24/05/2014
Luke Martin
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ
ONE TO WATCH: Luke Martin is going to be an important figure in the Southland Sharks’ quest to make the 2014 National Basketball League play-offs.

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The Southland Sharks cemented their top four spot in the National Basketball League competition with a come from behind 83-81 victory against the Taranaki Mountain Airs in New Plymouth tonight.

After the scores were locked 81-81 in the dying seconds, a put-back by Sharks guard Luke Martin snatched victory for the Sharks at the buzzer.

Mountain Airs coach Daryn Shaw claimed the final points in the game were scored after time had expired, but after consulting the official timekeeper, the referee ruled the basket was good and signalled the end of the game.

It as a lucky escape for the Sharks who had trailed the Airs fby 26 points heading into the final quarter and by 30 at one point in the third period.

The Sharks clawed their way back in the final quarter and their fightback gained further impetus after two Mountain Airs starters, import Adrian Oliver and captain Aaron Bailey-Nowell, were fouled out with five minutes left.

Airs import Suleiman Braimoh scored a game-high 27, while Sharks sharp shooter Brian Corklin had 25 points, with eight rebounds.

In Dunedin, the Wellington Saints have bounced back from last night's loss to the Super City Rangers to beat the Otago Nuggets 89-73.

New addition Brandon Bowman had 23 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. while Corey Webster also had 23 and off the bench Jordan Ngatai added 12.

After a scrappy first half, which saw the Saints only lead by five, they out-scored the Nuggets 31-12 in the third period, taking a 24-point lead.

The Nuggets closed the gap, but the deficit was insurmountable as the Nuggets drop to 4-5.

Brendon Polyblank had a team-high 19 against his former team, Warren Carter had 17 and point guard Mark Dickel stuffed the stat-sheet with 15 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

The Nuggets needed more offence so they opted to replace defensive specialist Troy Payne for a notable scorer in Brandon Bowdry.

It was going to be a tough ask for Bowdry, who had arrived early this morning, and it showed as he shot 6/21 for his 17 points.

The win moves the Saints to second with an 8-4 record, which puts them second because of the tiebreaker they hold over the Nelson Giants.

The Giants will have a chance tomorrow to return to second when they play the Waikato Pistons, who are currently fifth.

Also tomorrow, the Canterbury Rams will try to end their six-game losing streak when they play the Super City Rangers.

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RESULTS

Southland Sharks 83 (Brian Conklin 25, Kevin Braswell 17, Martin Luke 15, Henry Leon 15) Taranaki Mountain Airs 81 (Suleiman Braimoh 27, Adrian Oliver 21, Brad Anderson 21). 1Q: 18-18, HT: 29-43, 3Q: 48-70

Wellington Saints 89 (Corey Webster 23, Brandon Bowman 23, Jordan Ngatai 12) Otago Nuggets 73 (Brendon Polyblank 19, Warren Carter 17, Brandon Bowdry 17). 1Q: 20-16, HT: 43-38, 3Q: 74-50

- Taranaki Daily News

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