Bulls Take The Air Out Of A Gallant Taranaki

On a big night in front of a huge home crowd, the Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs battled hard against an EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls outfit featuring an import due that delivered 61 points between them, but a 56-39 second half by the visitors was enough to take a 101-85 win.

The night in New Plymouth started with warm applause for local favourite Aaron Bailey-Nowell, followed by a moment's silence in memory of local legend 'Coach' Steve McKean, who lost a short battle to cancer just days earlier.

With the emotional pre-game formalities over, an electric first half featured plenty of basket-for-basket action, the vocal crowd cheering every time Bailey-Nowell touched the ball in his 300th Sal's NBL game. 

Wowing the fans, Marcel Jones (33pts) did his bit, as did Tai Wynyard (18pts), but this game belonged to Bulls American pair Josh Selby (34pts) and Zane Waterman (27pts, 16rbs).

Selby started with some red-hot shooting, draining four triples in the opening quarter, before finishing with seven makes from downtown.

For Waterman, he just got better the longer the game went, getting on top of the Airs and showing his athleticism at both ends of the floor.

As the second half progressed the Bulls took their opportunities and eventually broke the game open, taking their second win for the season ahead of a trip back home to host the Mike Pero Nelson Giants on Saturday night.

For the Airs, a 0-3 start to the season has been filled with some highs and lows, but on this night, despite the final score, there were way more highs in front of a crowd topping 1,800 appreciative fans. 


Taranaki Airs (85) lost to Franklin Bulls (101) - BOXSCORE

Airs: Marcel Jones 33pts & 10rbs, Tai Wynyard 18pts, Haize Walker 11pts & 5ast.

Bulls: Josh Selby 34pts & 7 treys, Zane Waterman 27pts & 16rbs, Joseph Nunag 14pts.


Game Highlights

  1. Josh Selby and Zane Waterman are quickly proving to be an import duo that will take some stopping. They are on the rise and still finding their feet, which is an ominous warning for the competition.
  2. Marcel Jones continues to do what he's been doing for a long time. With the Airs thin for scorers, Jones is going to feast this season and fill the stats sheet most nights.
  3. Despite the result, the Airs faithful delivered a memorable night for Aaron Bailey-Nowell and Coach Steve McKean. A huge crowd showed up to pay tribute to two legends of Taranaki basketball.


Stuff MVP Votes

Josh Selby (Bulls-10)

Zane Waterman (Bulls-7)

Marcel Jones (Airs-7)

Tai Wynyard (Airs-4)

Haize Walker (Airs-1)

Joseph Nunag (Bulls-1)



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