Wellington Saints thrash Supercity Rangers to get to halfway point unbeaten
The Wellington Saints are halfway through their quest for an undefeated season after trouncing the Supercity Rangers.
The 103-67 win at TSB Bank Arena on Friday night pushed the Saints to 9-0 in their 18-game National Basketball League season.
There was no shortage of leaders for the Saints. Shea Ili was hot early on his way to 19 points and seven assists, while Josh Duinker dominated inside as he managed 18 points and eight rebounds.
Corey Webster shrugged off a back injury to score 12 points in his 23 minutes on the court, while BJ Anthony (16 points, seven rebounds) and Tai Wesley (13 points, nine rebounds) all contributed at some stage.
The Rangers weren't helped by the absence of veteran point guard Lindsay Tait through injury, but outside of Earnest Ross (18 points, six rebounds) and Mitch McCarron (25 points, nine rebounds) they offered very little, shooting just 27 per cent.
Saints coach Kevin Braswell said the loss of Tait meant it made for an ugly game.
"When you lose a player of that calibre it throws everything out of sync.
"My guys get hyped when they see a guy they need to bring it against and when Lindsay doesn't play it's kind of a drop off and you saw that the whole game. I told the guys it felt like I was at a funeral."
The first quarter saw the Saints off to one of their slower starts of the season, but two big threes late in the third quarter from Ili took his quarter total to 13 and the score to 25-16.
The Saints continued to charge through the second quarter as contributions came from around the court and the lead extended to 23.
With the game over at halftime, the second half became a test for both teams to try and keep the intensity up.
The Saints did that, but the Rangers soon looked disinterested and content to take their loss and move on to more winnable assignments.
The lead blew out to a whopping 41 by the end of the third as the Rangers managed just nine points in the quarter.
From there the Saints' second team came on, allowing the Rangers to win the final quarter.
Braswell wasn't happy with the second unit giving up 14 offensive rebounds and throwing away nine turnovers in that final 10 minutes.
"It's just unacceptable. We're trying to build habits and we're trying to do it in training and our trainings are very competitive - that unit usually beats the first units butts. If they do that tonight we don't give up all those boards and turnovers."
The Rangers now move to 4-3, but remain safely in the top four.
Of bigger concern for the other six NBL teams is exactly how to stop the rampant Saints.
AT A GLANCE
Wellington Saints 103 (Shea Ili 19 points, Josh Duinker 18, BJ Anthony 16) Supercity Rangers 67 (Mitch McCarron 25 points, Earnest Ross 18). Q1: 25-16; HT: 55-32; Q3: 82-41.