The Sky Tower Auckland Huskies put the nail in the Mike Pero Nelson Giants season on Friday night with a 104-96 come from behind victory.
The home team Giants got off to a fast start, led by the impressive Donte Ingram, while the Huskies looked a shadow of the round 9 team that went 2-0 on a Southern Swing.
A sharp about turn at half time though, saw the Huskies recover from a 14 point deficit. Tom Vodanovich injected himself into the game in the 3rd quarter, looking far more aggressive than his first half self, even while Hunter Hale was going about his points accumulating business, but it was Zach Riley who turned the game on his head.
The Rangitoto College student was stifling at the defensive end, and read the game beautifully offensively, leaking out at the perfect time over and over again and going a 6 point, 2 steal run to rip the game, and the season, away from the Giants.
So the Giants bow out of the playoff race with four straight losses, while the Huskies find themselves in the box seat for the fourth final four spot.
Nelson Giants (96) lost to Auckland Huskies (104) - BOXSCORE
Giants: Hunter Hale (30pts, 9rbs, 8ast), Donte Ingram (38pts & 10rbs).
Huskies: Justin Bibbs (31pts & 5ast), Zach Riley (25pts & 9rbs).
Stuff MVP Votes
Zach Riley (Huskies) 9pts
Justin Bibbs (Huskies) 9pts
Donte Ingram (Giants) 6pts
Tom Vodanovich (Huskies) 3pts
Hunter Hale (Giants) 3pts
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)