Rapid Wrap Round 14

Photo credit: Stepney Sports

The big news from the Sky Broadband Rapid League is that the NBS Nelson Giants are the inaugural champions and they accomplished it in style racking up a season high 53 points. Mike Lacey takes you through the detail of the that high scoring game and all the other news you need to know in this weeks Rapid Wrap.

NBS Nelson Giants 53 Southland Sharks 47

The Giants have won the Sky Broadband Rapid League trophy with two rounds to spare after holding off Southland Sharks to win a high scoring contest 53-47 at the Trafalgar Centre on Sunday evening in the last game of the round.

Connor Coll scored the first point of the game but after Nick Davidson gave them the lead the hosts weren’t headed again in the contest.

The Giants closed the opening half with a 30-18 lead but were pegged back the second spell as Coll, Ben Hall (13 points) and Scott Telfer scored 20 points – a season best.

Telfer made further inroads into the Giants lead in the fourth before Hall made the difference just three points 42-39 with 2:30 to play and the Giants fans were a little nervous.

From there the Giants steadied through Davidson, Tom Ingham and Aston Inwood who scored the last six points to finally see off the Sharks challenge.

Davidson scored 11 points, Ingham added 16 while Inwood was hugely influential. In his first season with the Giants Inwood had a hand in everything all season long and in the championship clincher he made a perfect 9 from 9 from the field for a career high 22 points. In addition to the excellent scoring he corralled 8 rebounds – 5 at the offensive end – while also dishing a pair of assists and scooping a steal.

It was an outstanding performance befitting a championship deciding game.

Napier RSA Hawks 28 Taranaki Steeelformers Airs 44

Though managing with just the five players the Taranaki Steeelformers Airs, led by Nico Hill’s 23-point haul, were able to record a comfortable 44-28 victory against Napier RSA Hawks at Rodney Green Arena in the opening game of the round.

A couple of scores from Jacob Murphy propelled the Hawks to an 8-2 lead but Nico Hill then made 10 points of his own as the Airs came back to take a 13-8 quarter time lead.

Murphy and Hill added to the their tallies although Geordie Hoeata, putting together a strong double of 12 points and 6 rebounds, had the last say of the half to keep the Airs in the lead at 22-16.

In a quarter punctuated by free-throws the Airs raised their lead to 32-21 with a stanza remaining.

Kahu Treacher took his tally into double figures while former Mt Albert Grammar wing Kade Cartwright, on debut, scored his first Rapid League points. However as the Airs cleared out to a substantial win the only question was whether Hill could beat the Rapid single game record of 25 points.

He went mighty close finishing with an Airs best 23 points, so for now Matt Bardsley’s overall record remains intact.

Tauranga Whai 38 Franklin Bulls 41 

Franklin Bulls held off a fast finishing Tauranga Whai to head back over the Kaimai Range with a 41-38 win at Mercury Baypark Arena on Thursday night.

With two of the premier shot makers in the Rapid League demonstrating their abilities Bulls guard Dru Leusogi-Ape led all scorers with 19 points (7/10FG) while Te Tuhi Lewis made 17 points (6/9FG) for the Whai.

Establishing an 8-point lead with a little over a minute to play the Bulls appeared headed for a comfortable win before scores from Carter Hopoi and Jett Thompson preceded a Lewis three with 23 seconds remaining.

Leusogi-Ape then drained a deep three at the other end but Lewis and the Whai were not done as, against his former club, Lewis drilled his third triple of the contest.

Needing to foul to stop the clock Leusogi-Ape made one of two free throws to ensure the Bulls headed back to the Stockyard with the spoils.

Early on the hyphenated duo of Leusogi-Ape and Harri Coker-Grey broke the deadlock to give the Bulls a 14-10 lead.

Maioro Greensill knocked down his second three of the game for the hosts but it was Leusogi-Ape that led the Bulls charge to a 26-17 half-time advantage.

The Bulls rush slowed in the third and when Zion Anderson tipped in a rebound at the conclusion of the frame the Whai trailed by just three points (30-27).

Christian Vano and Coker-Grey pushed the lead out to eight prior to the late Whai charge.

Taranaki Steeelformers Airs 21 BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 48 

Needing a victory to keep their Rapid League championship aspirations alive the Taranaki Steeelformers Airs were left seeing stars on Matariki as they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season – a 48-21 home loss to BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams.

Shining brightly were the performances of Rams duo Mac Stodart and Tama Isaac.

Stodart made 15 points on a perfect five out of five from beyond the arc while 17-year old Isaac impressed with 12 points, 7 assists and 3 steals in the win.

Thirteen is an unlucky number for some and it certainly was for the Airs as they gave up that many points to trail by 12 at quarter time.

Isaac and Stodart scored half a dozen points for the Rams as they pulled away to lead 23-7 at the interval - a tough half for the Airs who scored just one field goal in the half.

Taki Fahrensohn and Hugo Gonzales Garcia chimed in with more Rams points as their lead blew out to 34-10 at the three-quarter time mark.

The Airs reduced the deficit marginally in the final frame with Geordie Hoeata (8 points) their shining light but it was a performance they will want to quickly remove from the memory bank.

Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 44 Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 38 

In an entertaining contest in the capital Albert Pathways Wellington Saints knocked down 10 threes on their way to a 44-38 come from behind victory over the Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets in the early game on Saturday.

Perhaps blessed with the purest looking 3-point stroke in the league Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (12 points) made 4 from 6 from beyond the arc while Dion Prewster, Tyson Thata Paese (11 points) and Kazlo Evans Jr also contributed to the Saints 62% (10/16) exhibition from long range.

In a first quarter liberally sprinkled with threes it was Joe Ahie’s buzzer beater that caught the eye and enabled the Nuggets to take a 16-11 lead after the opening four minutes.

The Nuggets maintained their lead (22-18) in the second with Caleb Smiler’s 7 points the major contribution.

Despite a Michael Ruske triple the Saints stepped up a gear after the interval as Evans Jr, back from injury, started to pick holes in the Nuggets defence and Dougall-Mita made treys numbers three and four.

Outscored 14-5 in the third Josh Aitcheson and Ahie led the Nuggets recovery but with 7 of Evans Jr’s 11 points coming in the final frame Saturday success for the Saints was secured.

Franklin Bulls 30 Auckland Tuatara 39 

In the second 09 derby of the season Auckland Tuatara avenged their overtime defeat to the Franklin Bulls in Round 5. Leading from start to finish they won the late Saturday game 39-30 in Pukekohe.

Bulls guard Christian Vano led all scorers with 11 points while the Tuatara enjoyed significant contributions from all five starters.

Chris McIntosh and Josh Leger, a former Stockyard favourite, scored 5 points apiece in the opening spell won 12-9 by the visitors.

The advantage increased to 23-14 by half-time as the other starters Rueben Fitzgerald, Nick Barrow and Josh Wyllie made scores.

The lead grew to 13 points before the Bulls put together an 8-2 run to close to within 6 points (29-23) with a quarter to play.

Dru Leusogi-Ape and Vano pulled the Bulls along to make it a one possession game while raising hopes of a comeback but an experienced Tuatara group had other ideas.

Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 45 BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 48

The Property Brokers Manawatu Jets lost their fifth game by three points or less going down 48-45 to BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams in Palmerston North.

When Simon Lafaele made consecutive baskets to tie the score at 43 points apiece with under two minutes to play the Green Army were up and about.

Josh Tutagalevao cancelled out an Aidan Tonge basket – 45 each with 1:19 to play.

The Jets were unable to muster another score enabling Tama Isaac to win the game from the foul line – the 17-year old guard finishing with a career high 19 points.

He was ably supported by the in-form Stodart’s 15 points, for the second time in the round, while Jets guard Campbell Scott led the Green Machine with 11 points.

At the outset threes from Hikaia Lambert and Scott, late in the opening spell, gave the Jets an 11-9 lead.

Stodart, Taki Fahrensohn and Hugo Garci Gonzalez threes gave the Rams a 24-19 lead but a second trey of the game from Zavier Pearn reduced the margin to two points at the main break.

Scott made two more from deep in the third but scores late in the period from Tonge and Isaac kept the Rams in the ascendancy (38-33) with the fourth to play.

Again the Jets would come up just short.

Rapid Regulars

Lukah Richards missed his first game for the Jets in the meeting with the Rams meaning we have only 7 players that have played every game of the season for their respective teams.

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

Rapid Fire

Taranaki Airs small forward Nico Hill went within 2 points of equalling the Rapid League best individual points haul of 25 set by Nuggets wing Matt Bardsley. Hill finished with 23 points against the Hawks and in so doing has the distinction of becoming the first player to total 150 points.

Rapid tons

Hill was joined later in the round by Te Tuhi Lewis (Tuatara) and Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls) in reaching the 150 points mark.

In edition Rams guard Tama Isaac joined brother Kaia in accumulating 100 points this season as did Nuggets forward Robbie Coman and Giants guard Tom Ingham.

Leusogi-Ape jumps to the top of the points scoring leader board having feasted on opposition defences in recent times. Over the past 5 games he has scored 72 points at an average of 14.4ppg.

Top scorers (100pts+):

172 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)

158 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

157 Nico Hill (Airs)

147 Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets)

144 Connor Coll (Sharks)

140 Ben Hall (Sharks)

137 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

132 Tobias Cameron (Airs)

128 Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints)

124 Nick Davidson (Giants)

123 Tyson Thata (Saints)

121 Tama Isaac (Rams)

118 Hayden Jones (Giants)

113 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)

114 Jacob Murphy (Hawks)

109 Matt Bardsley (Nuggets)

109 Kobe Kara (Hawks)

104 Lachie Crate (Jets)

100 Robbie Coman (Nuggets)

101 Tom Ingham (Jets)

Top MVP vote gatherers: 

Kazlo Evans Jr. Saints 97
Josh Aitcheson Nuggets 91
Kaia Isaac Rams 86
Robbie Coman Nuggets 80
Connor Coll Sharks 78
Hayden Jones Giants 76
Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape Bulls 73
Nick Davidson Giants 73
Ben Hall Sharks 69
Te Tuhi Lewis Whai 66
Rangimarie Dougall-Mita Saints 65
Tama Isaac Rams 64
Aston Inwood Giants 64
Tommy Fergusson Hawks 63
Tobias Cameron Airs 59
Matt Bardsley Nuggets 58
Nico Hill Airs 58
Reuben Fitzgerald Tuatara 54
Kobe Kara Hawks 50
Lachlan Crate Jets 47

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings

15-3 Nelson Giants (Champions)

12-6 Taranaki Airs, Canterbury Rams, Wellington Saints

10-8 Otago Nuggets

9-8 Hawkes Bay Hawks

9-9 Auckland Tuatara

6-11 Franklin Bulls

6-12 Tauranga Whai

3-14 Manawatu Jets, Southland Sharks


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