Rapid Wrap: Round 13

Photo credit: Roshysportfolio

In a round when a host of players were unavailable to teams due to international commitments the Nelson Giants took a major step towards winning the inaugural Sky Broadband Rapid League title as Tom Ingham played their Get out of Jail card with astonishing effect in the victory at Manawatu Jets. Mike Lacey takes you through all that and more in this weeks Rapid Wrap. 

Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 37 NBS Nelson Giants 38

NBS Nelson Giants have one hand on the Rapid League trophy after staging a remarkable recovery, inspired by Tom Ingham, to pip the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 38-37 in Palmerston North on Saturday night.

After Campbell Scott (14 points) had drained his fourth triple of the night and Simon Lafaele (11 points) added a couple of points the Jets led 34-27 with just 24 seconds to play and a home win looked a mere formality.

However the league leaders and Ingham had other ideas.

The experienced guard hit a side-line three and then, following Scott’s brace of free-throws, he was fouled as he made another three from the identical spot and converting the 4-point play it was 36-34 with 13 seconds to play.

A Jonty Kells free-throw restored the three-point lead for the Jets only for Ingham to splash a third triple – his 10-point salvo made in 10 seconds – to tie the contest.

The Jets failed to score on the resulting possession allowing the Giants to action a player timeout. With only 1.1 seconds to work with Ernest Kerr was fouled in the act of shooting and made his second free-throw to pinch the most unlikely of wins.

Earlier the Jets carried a 14-11 lead into the half-time break and a 24-19 three-quarter time advantage ahead of the real excitement and unexpected finish as the Jets disappointingly gave up a winning position for the second time in a week.

Auckland Tuatara 16 Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 26

The opening game of the round was also the lowest scoring game of the season as Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets beat the miss-firing Auckland Tuatara 26-16 at Eventfinda Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets didn’t shoot the ball at a heady clip (just 39%) but it was superior to the Tuatara as they went 1 from 10 from downtown and 6 from 24 overall from the field at a miserable 25%.

Talanoa Latu, the mid-season trade pick up from the Franklin Bulls, found nothing but net with his first scoring attempt but it was slim pickings for the Tuatara thereafter.

Caleb Smiler had opened the Nuggets account and he had 6 points early to compliment 7 from Josh Aitcheson – the visitors ahead 16-7 at half-time.

Aitcheson, the former Junior Tall Black, would go on to score a game high 14 points as the Nuggets had little trouble protecting their lead through the second half.

Will Leger top scored for the hosts with 6 points but it proved to be a disappointing night for the Tuatara playing in front of their home fans for the final time this season.

Napier RSA Hawks 33 Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 28

The Napier RSA Hawks snapped a four game losing streak in defeating Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 33-28 in Napier on Thursday night.

Jacob Murphy (12 points) and Kahu Treacher (11 points) led the way for the Hawks while
Corey Lovell impressed again for the Saints. The teenage forward had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in just his second appearance for Wellington.

A couple of points from Clifton Bush III, on debut, helped the Hawks fly to an early 10-3 lead but when Arthur Pilcher scored on the quarter-time buzzer the advantage was back to 10-7.

After the Hawks also had the better of the second to lead 18-10 at half-time the hosts only had three points to show for their efforts in the third frame enabling Rangimarie Dougall-Mita and Tyson Thata to cut the margin to two points at three-quarter time (21-19).

Triples from Treacher and Murphy kept the Hawks in the ascendancy although after a brace of Dougall-Mita free throws the Saints were only two points in arrears with 38 seconds to play.

That was still the difference following a Lovell make but with the clock a friend of the Hawks Zoram Smiler put a grin on the faces of the home supporters by making the game safe from the free-throw line.

Southland Sharks 33 Tauranga Whai 37

A strong opening quarter laid the foundation for Tauranga Whai’s 37-33 road win against Southland Sharks on Friday night.

Te Tuhi Lewis (11 points) and Carter Hopoi featured strongly as the Whai rattled up the first 11 points of the contest and led 13-3 at quarter time.

That lead increased further in the second as triples from Hopoi – headed for a season high 14 points – Maioro Greensill and Jett Thompson propelled the Whai to a 26-12 half-time lead.

Matariki Kapea and the consistent Connor Coll (13 points) led an improved second half performance as the Sharks threatened a comeback win.

All had looked under control for the Whai as they led by 10 points inside the final minute only for Coll (twice) and Scott Telfer to score on successive possessions and drag the deficit back to three points (36-33) with 24 seconds to play.

Fittingly it was Hopoi that finally took the game out of the Sharks reach enabling the Whai to snap a six game losing streak in the process.

BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 39 Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 27

Paced by 14 points from Kaia Isaac BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams defeated Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 39-27 at Cowles Stadium, Christchurch on Saturday.

A tight opening quarter went the way of the Saints 9-6 and although Dion Prewster and Tyson Thata-Paese initially kept them in the ascendancy before a triple from Taki Fahrensohn and an and-1 play from Tama Isaac propelled the Rams to a 19-16 half-time lead.

The third period was all about Kaia Isaac as the combo guard scored nine straight points and, with the Saints held to just four points in the stanza, the Rams lead was 30-20 with a quarter to play.

Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (11 points) sunk his third triple of the game but Isaac, of the Kaia variety, continued on his merry way and with assistance from Mac Stoddart (10 points) the Rams had little trouble protecting their lead.

The Saints defeat, the second in the round, put a severe dent in their Rapid League championship aspirations.

Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 30 Tauranga Whai 32

Tauranga Whai completed a successful Southern Swing with a second victory in three days as they downed Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 32-30 in Dunedin on Sunday afternoon.

A Whai win looked highly unlikely after Josh Aitcheson scored 8 points as the hosts flew to a 16-2 lead.

Ahead 16-5 at quarter time Aitcheson was the first scorer in the second but with Jett Thompson (8 points), Xanda Marsters and Carter Hopoi landing three’s the Whai were in an improved position at half-time, although still trailing by eight (24-16).

More threes in the third period from the Whai continued their revival, and after the second in the game from Marsters, proceedings were tied at 27 points apiece with a quarter to play.

Despite losing former Nugget Akiva McBirney-Griffin to injury Jayden Boucher put the Whai in the lead early in the fourth.

The in-form Aitcheson took his haul to 16 points but it wasn’t enough as the Whai held steady.

Franklin Bulls 34 Taranaki Steelformers Airs 38

Despite Dru Leusogi-Ape scoring 20 points, Taranaki Steelformers Airs walked away with a 38-35 win over the Franklin Bulls in Pukekohe on Sunday night.

Nico Hill scored 9 of his 10 points in the opening quarter as the Airs made a 12-9 start.

The Airs scored another dozen in the second period to lead 24-16 with Cooper Ohlson the main provider – the former New Plymouth Boys High guard matching Hill’s effort with 9 points in the quarter.

Dane Bertinshaw scored the first points of the second half ahead of Leusogi-Ape heating up – his 10-point burst in the third trimmed the Airs lead to three points (21-28) with four minutes to play.

Ohlson and Zavier Adam increased the Airs advantage to 36-28 before Leusogi-Ape brought up 20 points in the closing minutes.

Christian Vano (10 points) made the outcome interesting when his triple made it a three-point game (37-34) with 15 seconds to play and although they would gain another possession a free throw from Airs guard Zavier Adam would prove to be the last scoring play of the game.

Rapid Regulars

We now have just 8 players that have played every game of the season for their respective teams after Kobe Kara (promoted to the Hawks starting five) and Kazlo Evans (injured) missed the Round 13 fixtures.

The eight are Nick Barrow (Tuatara), Halasiale Maile (Bulls), Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai), Nico Hill (Airs), Lukah Richards, Jackson Stent (Jets), Tyson Thata-Paese (Saints) and Robbie Coman (Nuggets).

Rapid Fire

The Rapid League best individual points haul of 25 points was set by Nuggets wing Matthew Bardsley in Round 12 and that mark may stand for a while.
Franklin Bulls guard Dru Leusogi-Ape briefly threatened that tally for the Bulls on Sunday and although falling short he did set a record of his own. DL-A finished with 20 points and in so doing became the first player to have two 20-point Rapid League outings having also reached that number against the Rams back in Round 2.

Rapid Tons

Guards Tyson Thata-Paese (Saints) and Jacob Murphy (Hawks) are the latest additions to the centurion club while Dru Leusogi-Ape is the new leader on the points scoring ladder after scoring 20 points against Taranaki Airs.

Top scorers (100pts+) :

145 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)
141 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)
141 Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets)
137 Kaia Isaac (Rams)
135 Connor Coll (Sharks)
132 Tobias Cameron (Airs)
127 Ben Hall (Sharks)
127 Nico Hill (Airs)
118 Hayden Jones (Giants)
116 Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints)
113 Nick Davidson (Giants)
112 Tyson Thata (Saints)
109 Matt Bardsley (Nuggets)
109 Kobe Kara (Hawks)
104 Lachie Crate (Jets)
102 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)
105 Jacob Murphy (Hawks)

Despite missing both Saints gamed in Round 13 Kazlo Evans Jr remains at the top of the MVP standings although Kaia Isaac and Josh Aitcheson are now within striking distance of the number one spot. Interestingly Hawks forward Tommy Fergusson remains in the top ten despite having not played since Round 8 after suffering a season ending injury.

Top MVP vote gatherers:

91 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)
86 Kaia Isaac (Rams)
85 Josh Aitchison (Nuggets)
78 Robbie Coman (Nuggets)
76 Hayden Jones (Giants)
76 Connor Coll (Sharks)
71 Nick Davidson (Giants)
66 Ben Hall (Sharks)
63 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)
60 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)
59 Tobias Cameron (Airs)
58 Matt Bardsley (Nuggets)
58 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)
57 Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints)
55 Aston Inwood (Giants)
50 Kobe Kara (Hawks)

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings

14-3 Nelson Giants
11-5 Taranaki Airs
11-6 Wellington Saints
10-6 Canterbury Rams
10-7 Otago Nuggets
9-7 Hawkes Bay Hawks
8-9 Auckland Tuatara
6-11 Tauranga Whai
5-10 Franklin Bulls
3-13 Manawatu Jets, Southland Sharks


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