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Stars align as Rusbatch delivers stunner

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2013
Ethan Rusbatch
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ
FLYING HIGH: Ethan Rusbatch goes up for a basket during the Mountain Airs' win over the Rangers.

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A miracle bucket from midcourt was the highlight of a productive night for Taranaki Mountain Airs forward Ethan Rusbatch on Saturday night.

With the buzzer for three-quarter time about to sound, Rusbatch let rip with a "Hail Mary" shot.

As the ball found its way into the hoop for a three-pointer, the buzzer went off.

"You just have to shoot those ones. I saw the clock and put my hand up. I was hoping I was free and the ball would come to me," Rusbatch said following their 114-93 NBL win over the Super City Rangers.

"There was still .1 of a second left . . . good timing. It's always good when they go in . . . the hype, it gets the crowd excited."

Rusbatch's miracle ball came in the middle of a scoring spurt for the big man at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth.

With only two points beside his name in the first half, the 1.95m Rusbatch found the hoop late in the third quarter with a field goal, a three-pointer and then another field goal before his second from outside the arc.

Rusbatch opened the fourth quarter scoring with a two-pointer and added another field goal to take his personal points tally to 16 in the win.

Rusbatch said he had enjoyed his season with the Mountain Airs, although it was disappointing not to make the playoffs.

"Not a whole lot has gone our way this season, but we're still trying hard to give it 100 per cent. It's hard when you can't get to the playoffs, but you have to do it for yourself, your team and the fans."

And as for Taranaki's final game of the season, against the Otago Nuggets in New Plymouth on Saturday night?

"They whipped us last time and we have to get one back on them. A bit of revenge."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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