Rapid Wrap: Round 10

Photo credit: Cameron Walker

Mike Lacey brings you all you need to know about the Sky Broadband Rapid League with the Rapid Wrap  for round 10 with big movers being the Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints who, after a pair of come from behind road wins in, are now within touching distance of ladder leaders NBS Nelson Giants.

Saints guard Kazlo Evans Jr was undoubtedly the Player of the Round as he made the winning plays in both victories. His effort to send the Tuatara game into overtime was probably worth 9.5 in terms of degree of difficulty.

A shout-out also to Bulls guard Christian Vano for his game winner against the Sharks – that effort was graded at 9.0 by the judging panel!

Tauranga Whai 40 Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 47

Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints made it six wins on the trot but had to battle all the way before defeating Tauranga Whai 47-40 at Mercury Baypark Arena on Wednesday night.

In a game that produced thirteen lead changes a Jett Thompson three, seconds before the three-quarter time buzzer, gave the home side a 31-29 lead.

On the resumption a pair of Tyson Thata-Paese (13 points) threes were cancelled out by Thompson (13 points) and Te Tuhi Lewis (12 points).

Troy Plumtree and Sam Gold (10 points) re-established the Saints lead only for Lewis, with only 28 seconds left on the clock, to tie the contest for the seventh time.

From there it was the Saints, or more accurately Kazlo Evans Jr, that held steady in the dying seconds.

Three times the former Waikato representative earned trips to the charity stripe and with the result from the line 5 makes from 6 attempts to seal win number eight for the Saints.

NBS Nelson Giants 32 Napier RSA Hawks 33

Two of the form teams in the competition met at the Trafalgar Centre in Nelson on Thursday night and it was the Napier RSA Hawks, bolstered by the inclusion of former Tall Black Jarrod Kenny, that emerged victorious defeating NBS Nelson Giants 33-32. The result keeps the Hawks in the championship picture whilst the Giants remain at the top of the table.

It was nip and tuck in the early minutes before 6 points from Tanae Lavery either side of half-time gave the Hawks a 22-15 lead.

Kaleb Chamberlain and Sam Dempster then combined to trim the margin to a couple of points. Kobe Kara (10 points) pushed out the Hawks lead to 29-21 before a Tom Ingham triple on the three-quarter buzzer delighted the home fans.

Hayden Jones (10 points) put the home side in the lead although the advantage was brief as Kara made a brace of buckets.

Jones cut the margin to one point inside the final minute – passing the 100 points mark for the season in the process - but the Hawks were able to hold on for an important win.

Taranaki Steeelformers Airs 47 Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 35

Taranaki Steeelformers Airs, on the back of a strong fourth quarter showing, beat Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 47-35 in New Plymouth on Friday night.

After Josh Aitcheson (9 points and 5 rebounds) had put the Nuggets up 32-30 early in the fourth the Airs grabbed the initiative as they reeled off 12 straight points. The run included treys from Zavier Adam and Derone Raukawa (12 points and 4 assists) and although the Nuggets found success via their leading scorers Robbie Coman and Aitcheson the Airs put an exclamation mark on the victory with a buzzer beating corner three from Tobias Cameron (12 points).

At the outset Raukawa scored 6 points but it was Otago 11-8 ahead at the first break. Cameron tallied 5 points in the second period although Coman matched that to help the Nuggets retain a three-point lead at half-time.

It was equally tight in the third stanza – a couple of sweet left handed hook shots from Quintin Bailey (8 points) helping the cause of the home side as they edged ahead 30-29.

Coman finished with a game and season high 15 points but that dominant fourth period meant it was the Airs that took a step closer to a top-4 finish.

BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 39 Napier RSA Hawks 23 

The Isaac brothers Tama and Kaia combined for 30 points as the BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams defeated Napier RSA Hawks 39-23 at Cowles Stadium on Saturday. And with Jackson Ball scoring 11 points for the Hawks it meant the next highest scorer in the game made just 4 points.

In their second outing of the round the Napier RSA Hawks scored the initial two points of the game courtesy of Harry Keighley but then gave up the next 10 – it would become 13 after a Mana Martin triple.

Jacob Murphy broke an almost six-minute Hawks scoring drought and with Ball rolling out his first points the visitors were still in the contest at half-time trailing 22-12.

That was still the case at the three-quarter mark as Zoram Smiler and Ball scores kept the Hawks advantage at 11 points (30-19).

However, the final stanza was dominated by the Isaacs as they put on all nine of the Rams points. Kaia finished with 16 points, to bring up 100 for the season, while younger brother Tama almost matched that with 14 – those points were made at a good clip as they combined to make 10 from 13 from the field and 7 from 8 from the free throw line.

Auckland Tuatara 29 Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 31 (Overtime)

For the second time in the round Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints came from behind as they defeated Auckland Tuatara 31-29 in overtime at Eventfinda Stadium on Saturday night.

Once again it was Kazlo Evans Jr that came up trumps in the dying moments to seal victory. Firstly, as the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation, the springy guard made a game tying three - one that had a high degree of difficulty being off balance and at pace.

Evans then made a driving layup in the final seconds of the one-minute overtime period to clinch an unlikely victory.

The Saints had trailed 18-12 at half-time and 24-16 at the three-quarter mark with Reuben Fitzgerald and Charlie Dalton scoring 8 points apiece for the home side.

Sam Gold and Kawharu Hippolite dented the lead but after a Dalton floater made it 26-21 with 16 seconds remaining it looked odds-on a Tuatara win. 

Managing the game clock expertly the Saints found Gold for a triple and Evans for a layup to cancel out Dalton free-throws.

From there it was more Evans heroics – against the Whai he made the last five points of the game to seal the win and repeated the feat in this one.

 Southland Sharks 42 Franklin Bulls 44

Despite the Southland Sharks giving up the first 13 points of the game it took a spectacular Christian Vano buzzer beater for the Franklin Bulls to claim a 44-42 victory in Invercargill on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulls charged out of the gate for those 13 points on their way to a 21-7 lead at the first break. Halasiale Maile scored 6 points and Dru Leusogi-Ape, on his way to a team high 14 points, made 8.

Dom Kelman-Poto, against his former club, helped the Bulls to a 30-13 half-time lead.

The Sharks, with 7 points from Ben Hall, were a different breed in the third quarter outscoring the Bulls 14-4 to cut the deficit to 34-27.

Hall continued to torment the Bulls defence and with Scott Telfer (9 points) adding scoring punch the Sharks reduced the deficit to a single point with 28 seconds to play.

A Bulls score from Leusogi-Ape was cancelled out by Hall free-throws with only 8 seconds to play – just long enough for Vano to scamper down court and come up with the weaving, spinning match winner.

Hall (20 points) and Connor Coll (6 points) passed 100 points for the season whilst there were a number of firsts for the Bulls. Nathaniel Short (3 points) and Corey Perry (4 points) scored on their Rapid debuts with Samara Funnell getting the W from her first assignment as head coach!

Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 36 Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 27

Having broken their duck against Tauranga Whai last week Property Brokers Manawatu Jets made it two wins in as many outings with a 36-27 win against Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets in Palmerston North on Sunday.

On his way to a game high 17 points, and passing 100 points for the season, Josh Aitcheson drained a couple of opening quarter threes although 5 points from Campbell Scott gave the Jets an 11-10 advantage.

After a dearth of points in the second period - the Jets held a 14-13 lead at half-time – the hosts then took control of proceedings in the third spell.

Lachie Crate and Simon Lafaele (15 points) were the major architects of a 14-point haul as the Jets climbed to a 28-20 lead.

A Scott (10 points) arching three opened the final quarter scoring only for the Nuggets to then mount a scoring run and following a Matt Bardsley basket they were within 4 points (32-26).

The threat of a come-from-behind win from the Nuggets was nipped in the bud by Josh Tutagalevao and Lafaele with successful visits to the free-throw line.

Rapid Regulars

Only 10 players across the 11 teams have played every game of the season to date.

The Jets and the Saints each have two ever presents whilst the South Island trio of the Giants, Sharks and Rams have no players with 100% appearance records.

Nick Barrow (Tuatara), Halasiale Maile (Bulls), Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai), Nico Hill (Airs), Kobe Kara (Hawks), Lukah Richards and Jackson Stent (Jets), Kazlo Evans Jr and Tyson Thata (Saints), Robbie Coman (Nuggets).

Rapid Fire

20 points from Southland Sharks forward Ben Hall was the highest individual score of the round. It also took Hall past 100 points for the season.

Rapid tons

Hayden Jones (Giants), Kaia Isaac (Rams), Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets), Ben Hall (Sharks) and Connor Coll (Sharks) became the latest players to reach a century of points this season.

The eye catching performances from Kazlo Evans Jr have propelled him to the top of the MVP standings while Te Tuhi Lewis is the new leader on the points scoring ladder.

Top scorers (85pts+) :

116 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

114 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)

112 Ben Hall (Sharks)

108 Nico Hill (Airs)

104 Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets)

102 Connor Coll (Sharks)

101 Hayden Jones (Giants)

100 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

95 Lachie Crate (Jets)

93 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)

91 Tobias Cameron (Airs)

85 Kobe Kara (Hawks)

Top MVP vote gatherers: 

68 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)

63 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)

62 Hayden Jones (Giants)

61 Robbie Coman (Nuggets)

61 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

61 Josh Aitchison (Nuggets)

61 Ben Hall (Sharks)

54 Connor Coll (Sharks)

53 Nick Davidson (Giants)

51 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

47 Aston Inwood (Giants)

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings

10-3 Nelson Giants

9-3 Wellington Saints

8-4 Taranaki Airs, Hawkes Bay Hawks

7-5 Canterbury Rams

7-6 Otago Nuggets

7-7 Auckland Tuatara

5-7 Franklin Bulls

4-9 Tauranga Whai

2-10 Manawatu Jets

2-11 Southland Sharks


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