Airs Topple Giants In OT Thriller

The Mike Pero Nelson Giants came from 25 points down to take Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs to overtime after the scores were tied 75 points apiece in regulation.

Raukawa and Jones scored the first 8 points in the first additional period of the Sal’s NBL Showdown and with the inspirational Tom Ingham fouling out the commendable Giants fight back seemed extinguished.

However Brooks and Mike Karena kept the Giants in the hunt before they eventually fell 95-88 after a really spirited effort.

The Giants looked in an impossible hole when they trailed 61-36 ninety seconds into the third period but they showed real grit and resilience to push the Airs all the way.

Raukawa finished with 24 points for the Airs, Marcel Jones tallied 21 points and 16 rebounds whilst Tai Wynyard scored 14 points and Kenneth Tuffin had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Dane Brooks played a big hand for the Giants with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Tom Ingham was also very good with 18 points whilst Tysxun Aiolupotea (11 points), Zeb Lovell (11 points) and Mike Karena (10 points) were also in double figures.

Early on Tai Wynyard, improving with every game, scored two quick baskets for the Airs – an athletic tip-in from Brooks and a trey from Tysxun Aiolupotea the reply.

Brooks scored six points on the bounce to tie proceedings but Kenneth Tuffin had the final say of the opening quarter to give the Airs a 27-19 lead.

A corner three from Ingham wasn’t enough to stop Giants coach Mike Fitchett from subbing five-for-five, the changes coming with his team 34-24 down.

Raukawa scored the next five points - the situation becoming precarious for the Giants.

Ingham knocked down a text book jump shot but it was slim pickings for the Giants – Denhym Brooke carrying the Giants to a 47-31 lead.

Tuffin’s neat left-handed finish concluded the first-half action, the Airs ahead 57-36.

Tom Ingham was playing a captains knock, his two-points part of an 8-0 Giants run and it was Airs coach Doug Courtney that needed a timeout.

Josh Leger, following his skipper’s example was getting through a mountain of work, Lovell scored on consecutive offences and when St Kentigern College guard Alex McNaught, a replacement for the injured Josh Bloxham, scored at the end of the period the Giants only trailed by 7 points (56-63).

The Airs were outscored 20-6 in the third period and were still finding baskets tough to come by early in the fourth.

Dance scored with a 9-point degree of difficulty but when Ingham dropped a triple the Airs lead had been reduced to just two-points (67-65).

Wynyard was proving a tough proposition inside, his put back making it 73-70 helped the Airs.

A tough finish from Brooks, who added the extra, made it 75-73 with under two minutes to play.

Neither team could score on the next couple of possessions but Aiolupotea could with a neat finish and overtime resulted.

The Airs are now 5-3, the Giants slip to 3-5.

Final score:
Mountainairs 95 – Raukawa 24/7a, Jones 21/16r, Wynyard 14/8r, Tuffin 10/13r
• Giants 88 – Brooks 28/8r/6ª, Ingham 18, Aiolupotea 11, Lovell 11. Karena 10

Talking Points
1. Could Derone Raukawa continue his stellar form. The Airs playmaker is leading the league in assists (7.9apg) and is second in scoring (22.3ppg). 24 points and 7 assists answers that question.
2. Tom Ingham hasn’t posted the same heady numbers as Raukawa but the Nelson guard has still been highly effective delivering 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. You feel he will need to have another strong game if the Giants are to have a chance in this one. He did everything he could to give his team a chance – 18 points an d 4 rebounds.
3. Nelson can’t buy a trick on the injury front – Josh Bloxham the latest player in the casualty ward following visits from Vukona, Brooks, O’Leary and Karena.

Sky City MVP Votes:
Derone Raukawa (Airs-9), Marcel Jones (Airs-9), Dane Brooks (Giants-5), Tai Wynyard (Airs-3), Kenneth Tuffin (Airs-2), Tom Ingham (Giants-2).


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