The first Auckland derby of the 2022 Sal’s NBL season went the way of the Auckland Tuatara after defeating a resilient EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls 88-76.
Minus head coach Morgan Maskell, confined to Quarters due to Covid protocols, the Bulls gave the Tuatara all they could handle with the contest still in the balance until the closing minutes.
Much interest centred around the first appearance of former Rangitoto College standout Dan Fotu but it was another former Rangitoto star Denhym Brooke that caught the eye early on.
Brooke finished with 20 points with fellow Bulls forward Leon Henry putting together an impressive stat line of 19 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Taki Fahrensohn top scored for the Tuatara with 20 points, Siler Schneider, despite suffering foul trouble, tallied 17 points and Rob Loe rivalled the stat line of Henry mustering 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
in front of a sold out crowd of close to 2,000 spectators Tuatara debutant Dan Fotu (10 points and 5 rebounds) earned himself a trip to the foul line with his first offensive touch. Henry brought the visiting fans to their feet with a couple of athletic defensive stops and they were even happier when Isaac Davidson tied proceedings as quarter time expired – 22 points apiece.
The Tuatara scored the first 9 points of the second period but the Bulls responded as expected. Brooke scored 8 points in the quarter and we were all tied up again at half-time at 43 all.
Again the Tuatara made the better start to the period to lead 53-46 and with Fahrensohn converting from range the advantage was with the hosts at the three-quarter mark – ahead 67-56.
Another run from the home team stretched the lead to 17 points and the Bulls acting head coach Jamie Reddish needed a timeout.
Henry responded with five points on the resumption and when Davidson made an And-1 play a Bulls comeback was a possibility – down 82-72 with 3:30 to play.
Siler Schneider’s floater kept the margin at 12 as the Tuatara held the Bulls at bay to move to 5-1 atop the NBL ladder.
The Bulls shared the spoils in last season’s Battle of the North sharing the series 1-1 with the Huskies. They will be hoping to balance the 2022 ledger when the two teams meet again in Round 13 in late July. It should be another cracking encounter.
SCORE: Tuatara 88, Bulls 76
Tuatara: Fahrensohn 20 PTS | Schneider 17 PTS | Loe 14 PTS | FOTU 10 PTS Johnson 8 PTS & 10 REBS
Bulls: Brooke 20 PTS | Henry 19 PTS & 12 REBS | Davidson 12 PTS | Bezzant 11 PTS & 5 ASSISTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Taki Fahrensohn (Tuatara) - 9 votes
Rob Loe (Tuatara) - 5 votes
Denhym Brooke (Bulls) - 5 votes
Siler Schneider (Tuatara) - 5 votes
Jayden Bezzant (Bulls) - 4 votes
Leon Henry (Bulls) - 2 votes
Tuatara – Jun 4 @ Hawke's Bay Hawks
Bulls – Jun 5 vs. Manawatu Jets
Round 5 Sal's NBL Schedule