Dillon Boucher's versatility the key for Saints
Dillon Boucher is winding back the clock as he brings the ball up court for the NBL-leading Wellington Saints.
The 37-year-old built his reputation as a hustling forward for the Breakers and Tall Blacks but as a youngster he was an aspiring playmaker.
With point guard Lindsay Tait still sidelined with a suspected broken thumb, Boucher and Corey Webster again shared ball handling duties in yesterday's 97-72 defeat of the Otago Nuggets.
"I grew up playing as a point guard so I'm very comfortable in the position but obviously it's different when you're going into a role you haven't done or practised for a long time," Boucher said.
"For me it's about making the adjustment and making sure I've got guys in the right spots which is a little bit different than what I'm used to."
Boucher was surprised that Mark Dickel and co didn't pressure him as much as he thought they would at Dunedin's Edgar Centre. Also the assistant coach, Boucher said the Saints had done plenty of work on attacking full court pressure.
"It's a testament to the guys on the team really. When Lindsay went down we all wanted to make sure it didn't affect us but obviously he's a huge part of what we do. He averages 38 minutes a game and when you lose your starting point guard it's always going to be a bit of an adjustment."
The 13-2 Saints round out the regular season on Friday, at home to the second-placed Southland Sharks (11-3).
Outside of the Saints, the Paul Henare-coached Sharks are the form team of the competition and beat the Waikato Pistons 96-85 yesterday.
"I'm sure Pauly's going to have some tricks up his sleeve for us," Boucher said.
"They're playing extremely well and to cement that first spot going into the playoffs, it's a very important game for us."
Boucher said it was unclear whether or not Tait would be able to return for the Final Four tournament in the Hawke's Bay.
"We're hopeful but we're almost banking on him not being there and then if he's there it's a bonus."
Yesterday was the third straight loss for the slumping Nuggets, and their first home defeat of the season.
The Saints trailed by three at the end of the first quarter but blew Otago away 31-10 in the second period.
It was a true team performance from the visitors, who had six players reach double digit points.
They won every statistical battle, converted 29 of 32 free throws and had an 11-rebound edge.
Webster paced the Saints with 21 points, although he will be disappointed with his efficiency (6/18 FG)
Casey Frank had 18, while Rick Rickert had his fourth straight double-double (16 rebounds, 11 points).
"Bigs are having trouble stopping him," said Boucher, who pulled in 10 boards.
"We'll continue to feed him the ball and let him go to work. He's been a great find for us."
The Dominion Post