Sharks end Jets' season with fine comeback

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 20:28 28/06/2013
Leon Henry
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ
TOP-FOUR: Sharks forward Leon Henry drives on Jeremiah Trueman during their 94-89 win over the Manawatu Jets, which booked a place in the NBL Final Four.

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The Southland Sharks have put an end to the Manawatu Jets' season with a 94-89 win at Arena Manawatu tonight.

The Jets led most of the game and even held a 16-point lead at one stage, but with their two key men fouled out in the final quarter, the hosts gave away too much ball and Southland shot their way back into the game.

The loss puts Manawatu out of the reckoning for a playoffs spot and seals a place in the playoffs for the Sharks.

Both teams were slow to start and fared poorly with their three-point shooting.

Manawatu were working hard in defence and they had a nine point lead in the second but started to make mistakes.

The Jet's shooting was on form after halftime, and at 54-38 up they almost looked on course to win by the 30 points they needed to top Southland in the tie-breaker.

But with Nick Horvath and Jeremiah Trueman both fouled out, the Jets struggled defensively and weren't helped by a string of turnovers which Southland capitalised on.

The Sharks scored 39 points in the final quarter and seven second-half threes. 

Southland started making their shots as Manawatu's lead ebbed away and Kevin Braswell tied it up with a free throw, before Leon Henry nailed a three to take the lead.

Braswell top scored with 20 points for Southland, while Henry and Brian Conklin both scored 19.

Chris Hagan led the scoring for the Jets with 27, Marcel Jones had 20, while Horvath grabbed a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

The Jets have one game remaining this season against the Super City Rangers, while the Sharks are on the road to Wellington, Nelson and Waikato.

Southland Sharks 94 (Kevin Braswell 20, Leon Henry 19, Brian Conklin 19) Manawatu Jets 89 (Chris Hagen 27, Marcel Jones 20, Troy McLean 14) Q1: 12-20, HT: 36-39, Q3: 55-61

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