Waikato Pistons show off benefits of break

The Waikato Pistons didn't have to break much of a sweat last night as they warmed up for a crucial National Basketball League encounter tomorrow night.

The Pistons destroyed the disappointing Auckland Pirates 108-77 in Auckland  an ideal preparation for their trip to Napier tomorrow to face the league-leading Bay Hawks.

Coach Dean Vickerman was able to deploy his bench throughout most of the second half in Auckland after the starting five tore the Pirates apart in the opening 20 minutes.

All five starters netted double-digit points as they ravaged Auckland's helter-skelter approach and then were able to rest ahead of the tougher impending encounter.

Vickerman admitted it was a victory that ticked most of the boxes after the Pistons had last week off.

"We could make sure 25 minutes was enough for a lot of the guys," he said.

"And I was pleased we came off a break and obviously we used it well  we took care of some injuries, we looked refreshed and once we got going, it looked like it had been good for them."

The under-manned and under-sized Pirates wanted to hare up and down the court from the outset but that soon played right into the visitors' hands as they blew the game open in the latter stages of the first quarter, with Thomas Abercrombie and imported point guard Jerry Smith prominent.

"We came up with some deflections, some steals and that led to some easy baskets," Vickerman said.

"We know they like an up-tempo style  Wellington does, other teams do too  and while we may not always encourage it, we certainly don't mind playing it that way."

After leading 32-13 at quarter-time, the Pistons didn't let up in the second quarter and established a 54-28 advantage by halftime.

While Vickerman was able to utilise his bench in the second half, he was keen to give most of his starters an extended run in the first without injured power forward BJ Anthony and they all scored in double figures while dominating the hosts.

"That group needed to play together for a while," Vickerman said.

"They're going to be very important for us  they're a mobile, athletic group that is difficult to match up on."

Smith led all scorers with 23 points and added six steals, four rebounds and three assists.

Abercrombie had 16 points in the first quarter before finishing with 19 in 24 minutes, while Jason Crowe had nine assists and Alex Pledger 16 points and 14 boards.

Anthony was due to see the physio today to see if he could play against the Hawks.

Anthony sat out a couple of matches earlier this season with an ankle injury and Vickerman said while the current injury was to the same ankle it was in a different place.

Waikato Times