Rapid League Wrap – Round 3

Photo credit: Katrina Parish

Starting today Mike Lacey will be taking you through everything you need to know about the Sky Broadband Rapid league with the Rapid Wrap, a new weekly feature on the fastest game in town.

Round 3 of the Sky Broadband Rapid League was a hoops bonanza as it featured seven games in seven cities over five days including our first Monday night game of the season.

The feast began on Thursday when the Jets took on the Hawks in Palmerston North and finished in the deep south where the Sharks entertained the Saints.

The Saints were the major movers in the round chalking up successive road wins. Below we recap all seven games.

Property Brokers Jets 33 Napier RSA Hawks 49

With an 0-3 record heading into the game and Simon Lafaele – averaging 9 points per game – missing after being elevated to the starting lineup for the NBL game the omens didn’t look good for the Jets.

Those pre-game concerns were certainly not alleviated in the opening minutes as the Jets fell behind 12-6.

The mood lightened in the second as Lachie Crate scored 8 points to counter the high energy production of Hawks guard Kobe Kara (17 points) – Jets down 25-20 at half time.

Triples from Jonty Kells (8 points) and Jackson Stent pulled the Jets to within one but from there it was all Hawks or more accurately all Tommy Fergusson. The Hawks big man scored all 12 of his team’s third quarter points, eventually finishing with 18 (9/12FG) points and 10 rebounds, as the Jets were outscored 24-13 in the second half.

NBS Nelson Giants 38 Auckland Tuatara 27

Ahead of the game the two teams sat atop the Rapid League ladder boasting perfect 3-0 records but it was the Giants that kept a 100% winning record claiming a 38-27 win at the Trafalgar Centre on the back of a dominant fourth quarter display.

Seventeen points apiece at half-time the Giants shaded the third to lead 24-23 before outscoring the visitors 14-4 in the fourth period.

Josh Leger accounted for 16 of the Tuatara’s points but the books were more than balanced by Hayden Jones (11 points) and James Matthews with 11 and 10 points respectively for the Giants.

Also deserving credit were Tom Ingham who accrued 5 assists and the persistent Aston Inwood who claimed 8 rebounds to go with 4 points.

For the third game in four the Giants kept their opponents under 30-points, a key factor in their unbeaten run and something they will be looking to repeat moving forward.

Taranaki Steelformers Airs 42 Whai 23

The Airs marked their first home game of the season with victory against the Whai on Saturday afternoon. With the luxury of Tall Blacks Tobias Cameron (15 points) and Derone Raukawa in their lineup the hosts forged a convincing 42-23 win.

Seven points apiece at quarter time the Airs edged the second frame to take a 16-15 lead into the main break.

Te Tuhi Lewis (9 points) gave the Whai the lead after the restart but the advantage was short lived as Cameron proceeded to break the game open.

He made 3-point plays in three different modes beginning with an And-1 play. A jumper from beyond the arc followed before three free throws after being fouled in the act of shooting ensued. Cameron’s thirst for points continued as he tallied 13 in the quarter.

Nico Hill (13 points), the Airs leading scorer in Rapid League, stretched the advantage into double figures and from there the Airs soared to a convincing win as they restricted the Whai to just 8 second half points.

Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 34 Mills Albert Wellington Saints 37

It was third time lucky for the Wellington Saints as they secured a first win of the season, defeating Otago Nuggets 37-34 in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Five points from Darcy Knox and a three on the quarter-time buzzer from Robbie Coman (6 points) propelled the Nuggets to a handy 13-7 lead.

Matt Pyper increased the Nuggs advantage although a brace of threes from Tyson Thata (11 points) kept the Saints in touch – down 23-19 at half-time.

Matt Bardsley (8 points) demonstrated his athleticism with a two handed flush and Thata, the former Tawa College standout, did likewise with a left handed finish under pressure as the Saints scored the last six points of the period to lock the scores at 29 each.

It remained a one possession game throughout the final four minutes before the impressive Kazlo Evan Jr settled affairs from the free throw line – an ironical way to win the contest given Otago were 0 from 7 from the charity stripe.

Evans Jr finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists – critically six of his points were scored in the last two and a half minutes. 

BBQs Factory Rams 39 Auckland Tuatara 25

In contrast to the Nuggets, the Rams shot an impressive 93% (14/15) from the charity stripe to down the Auckland Tuatara 39-25 at Cowles Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

It didn’t look good for the Rams early on as the former Manawatu Jets pair of Josh Leger (8 points) and Tukaha Cooper (8 points) scored the first 14 points for the Tuatara as they forged a double figure lead before seven straight from Hugo Gonzalez got the Rams back on level terms.

Will Leger had the final say of the opening half – the visitors 18-16 to the good.

Aaron Sievert scored his first Rapid League points to increase the visitors advantage but that’s as good as it got for the Aucklander’s as they were outscored 23-7 in the second half.

Season high’s from guard Jonty Bond (14 points) and forward Josh Nickel (8 points) inflicted most of the damage on the Tuatara who suffered their second loss of the round.

Franklin Bulls  43 Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 34

With the Bulls having lost their first two games of the season and the Jets all four of their outings a first W of the season was on the line in Pukekohe on Sunday night.

In the end it was the Bulls that broke their duck winning 43-34 at the Stockyard.

Tied at 15-all at quarter time the Bulls dominated the second frame, on the back of 8 points from Liam Davis (14 points), to lead 25-15 at half-time.

Lachie Crate (12 points) then got the Jets back in to the contest with 8 third quarter points to trim the margin to 35-28.

Jonty Kells (7 points) pulled the Jets within five before Christian Vano (9 points) sealed the deal for the Bulls. The former Rotorua Boys High guard’s driving lay-up was followed by a dime for a Dante Matakatea make and send the Jets south with plenty to consider before meeting top of the table Nelson Giants on Wednesday.

Southland Sharks 46 Mills Albert Wellington Saints 47

In the Monday night fixture in Invercargill Sharks wing Ben Hall had a chance to win the contest in the last second of the game but his tip-in effort rimmed out enabling the Saints to take the win 47-46 in the closest game of the round.

It was raining threes in the first half as the two teams combined for a staggering 11 from 15 (73%) from beyond the arc – a half in which the 52 points were divided evenly. Six different players nailed threes with Wellington’s Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (18 points) the standout making 4 from 5 attempts.

Connor Coll (14 points) and Josh Tutagalevao (10 points) moved into double figures but the teams still couldn’t be separated at the three-quarter mark with the scores tied at 37 points each.

Dougall-Mita’s fifth three of the game and lay-up’s from Tyson Thata and Kawharu Hippolite (9 points) gave Saints the advantage but the Sharks weren’t finished. Matariki Kapea and Riley Snow made it a one point game before the effort from Hall was centimetres away from being the game winner.

Rapid Improvements

New Zealand U17 Men’s National Team Head Coach Leyton Haddleton believes the introduction of the Rapid League is proving hugely beneficial for the national age-group programme.

“Not only are our young players having the opportunities to train with NBL teams and learn from experienced players and top-line coaches but now they actually get to step on the court.

“Being put in the spotlight and having to play against stronger, older players is proving invaluable as we prepare for the FIBA U17 World Cup later in the year.

“In the past it has taken us two or three games, at these types of tournaments, to acclimatize to the physicality and pace of the international game.

“The Rapid League is helping us bridge that gap and for those players fortunate to also play NBL minutes their progress is even more marked,” said Haddleton.

Rapid Express

Rapid by name and rapid by nature the 16 minute games are producing an avalanche of points. Dropping 49 points on the Jets the Hawks tallied the highest single game score of the season.

A high octane Monday night game produced a combined 93 points – a Rapid record – as the Saints edged home 47-46. 

Rapid Fire

The player with the most points in a single game is Dru Leusogi-Ape. The Bulls guard racked up 20 points in 15 minutes in Round 2 against the Giants at the Stockyard.

Hawks forward Tommy Fergusson looked on track to beat that number but eventually had to be content with posting the first Men’s Rapid League double-double as he added 10 rebounds to 18 points in the win against the Jets.

Rangimarie Dougall-Mita also had an 18-point outing as the Saints secured that single point win against the Sharks.

Rapid Arrivals

Our Rapid League debutants in Round 3 were:

Ryan Hunt, Aaron Sievert, Conor Flanagan (all Tuatara)

Tom Ingham (Giants)

Derone Raukawa (Airs)

Te Maire van der Leden (Whai)

Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints)

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings after Round 3

4-0 NBS Nelson Giants

3-2 Auckland Tuatara

2-1 Hawkes Bay Hawks, Taranaki Airs, Canterbury Rams

2-2 Wellington Saints, Southland Sharks

1-2  Whai, Franklin Bulls, Otago Nuggets

0-5 Manawatu Jets


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