Rapid Wrap – Round 9

Photo credit: Stepney Sports

Round 9 of the Sky Broadband Rapid League kicked off the second half of the season, a round in which the Nelson Giants improved their record to 10-2 at the top of the league table after winning both of their fixtures in the 09.

Meanwhile at the other end of the ladder the Manawatu Jets celebrated their first win of the season with a home victory against the Tauranga Whai.

Mike Lacey takes your through all you need to know in this week's Rapid Wrap.

Taranaki Steeelformers Airs 40 defeat Napier RSA Hawks 30

Despite being without formerly ever presents Tommy Fergusson and Balin Casson, due to injury, Napier RSA Hawks pushed the Taranaki Steeelformers Airs the majority of the way before being outscored 16-6 in the final three minutes.

On the back of 13 points from 16-year old Jackson Ball and 9 from Jacob Murphy the Hawks led 17-12 at quarter time and were only a point adrift at the three-quarter mark (22-21).

Kobe Kara tied the scores early in the fourth before the Airs breezed through the final minutes to move level with the Hawks on seven wins.

Tobias Cameron led the way for the Airs in front of their home supporters at TSB Arena in New Plymouth with 16 points while half a dozen from Nico Hill took him past 100 points and in so doing became the first player to ever log a century in the Men’s Rapid League.

Tauranga Whai 28 lose to BBQ's Direct Canterbury Rams 33

The two sides met for the second time in six days with the BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams reversing the result from the Christchurch encounter with a 33-28 victory against Tauranga Whai on Thursday night.

Rams forward Mac Stodart (7 points), playing his first game since concluding his 4-year American collegiate career, scored with his first shot but a brace of 3-point plays from Jett Thompson gave the Whai an 11-7 quarter time lead.

Thompson (11 points) dropped another three but Aiden Tonge conjured up 5 points in the final eight seconds of the half to take the Rams to a 20-16 lead.

The Rams were kept to just 4 points in the third although the Whai couldn’t capitalise, scoring just 6 themselves.

Trailing 26-22 early in the last quarter Te Tuhi Lewis squared the ledger for the Whai with a 4-point play. However, another 5 points from Tonge – he had a season high 14 points -  and a late contribution from Max Darling settled the contest in favour of the red & black.

Auckland Tuatara 34 lose to NBS Nelson Giants 44

Fresh off his 200th NBL appearance Auckland Tuatara forward Nick Barrow scored a season high 10 points (5/5FG) but it wasn’t enough to prevent NBS Nelson Giants winning 44-34 at Eventfinda Stadium on Friday night.

Completing the double over the Tuatara the Giants, paced by Nick Davidson’s 12 points, maintained their position at the top of the Rapid League ladder.

Brayden Iuli, back in a Tuatara uniform after his sophomore season at Menlo College in California, scored early on before Sam Dempster’s score at the half-time buzzer gave the visitors a 22-16 half-time lead.

Shooting a hot 78% (14/18) from the field and 87% (13/15) from the free throw line the Giants won every quarter. Seven points from Kaleb Chamberlain and 8 points apiece from Hayden Jones and Aston Inwood ensured the Giants controlled the second half to close out win number nine.

Southland Sharks 39 lose to Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 41

The Southland Sharks won the first lower South Island derby earlier in the season but the Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets turned the tables in Invercargill on Saturday afternoon winning a tight encounter 41-39 whilst also recording their highest score of the season in the process..

Robbie Coman (8 points) knocked down a brace of threes but 5 points from Scott Telfer propelled the Sharks to a 10-8 lead early on.

Ben Hall (9 points) scored baskets either side of the first quarter break before a Michael Ruske and-1 play gave the Nuggets a 20-18 half-time lead.

Connor Coll, the Sharks leading scorer this season, made 6 points in the third as the scores were locked at 28 points apiece ahead of the final four minutes.

An exciting fourth period developed into something of a shootout between Darcy Knox (15 points) and Telfer (14 points), who both tallied season high’s. The Nuggets guard won the matchup 15-14, a margin reflecting the closeness of the game.

Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 42 defeat BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 37

Sam Gold and Dion Prewster made their first appearances for Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints as they pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 42-37 at TSB Arena on Saturday night.

Gold returns after completing his junior year at Milligan University, Tennessee while Prewster is taking a break from his coaching commitments in Japan. Both sank their first shots of the season however, it was the Rams that headed the first quarter (10-7).

Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (12 points) stroked three triples but the Isaacs, Kaia and Tama, kept the Rams in front 19-18 at half-time.

It was the turn of Taane Samuel (13 points) to knock down three from beyond the arc in the third – the Saints made 8 in the game – although a couple of scores from 16-year old Mana Martin maintained a one point lead (31-30) for the Rams at three-quarter time.

Gold put the Saints in the lead on the resumption before former Tall Blacks Prewster and Samuel ensured it was a fourth consecutive victory that moves the hosts up to equal second on the Rapid rung.

Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 38 defeat Tauranga Whai 35

After 10 straight losses the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets finally have a win to celebrate after a come from behind 38-35 victory at Fly Palmy Arena in Palmerston North on Sunday afternoon.

Trailing 30-23 at three-quarter time the Jets had Simon Lafaele to thank for getting them back in the contest. The former St John’s College, Hamilton standout scored 8 points to give them a 33-32 lead.

Te Tuhi Lewis restored the Whai advantage with 50 seconds to play only for Jackson Stent to nail a three on the next possession before Lachie Crate (8 points) sealed the long awaited win in front of the enthusiastic green army.

Lafaele was outstanding for the Jets as in addition to scoring a season high 14 points he added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Lewis top scored for the visitors with 13 points, who led 23-15 at half time. Jett Thompson with 9 points and Xanda Marsters with 7 were also prominent for the Whai.

Franklin Bulls 23 lose to NBS Nelson Giants 40

The NBS Nelson Giants gave the Franklin Bulls a 28-point towelling when the teams met in the opening round of the season and although the margin wasn’t as great this time around it was still a comfortable 40-23 result in favour of the Giants in Pukekohe on Sunday night.

The table topping Giants scored the first 6 points of the game and led 10-2 at quarter time with 6 points scored by Hayden Jones.

The Giants piled on 20 second quarter points to lead by that margin (30-10) at half-time – Sam Dempster (9 points), Kaleb Chamberlain (7 points) and Tom Ingham (7 points) each draining 3-pointers.

Dru Leusogi-Ape scored 4 of the Bulls first half points thus becoming the third player to log 100 Rapid League points this season.

The rapid second period scoring was replaced by a more placid rate in the third – the term tied 6-6.

Despite a three-point make from Harri Coker-Grey the funerial pace of scoring continued through the remainder of the second half although it was of little consequence for the Giants as their first half domination ensured it was successive wins from their Auckland road trip.

Rapid Regulars

Only 11 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 neither the Giants or the Rams have a player with a 100% appearance record. Should we name the ever presents next week?

Rapid Fire

16 points from Tobias Cameron for the Airs against the Hawks was the highest individual score of the round.

Rapid ton

The race to become the first player to tally 100 points  finished in the opening game of the round when Taranaki Airs guard Nico Hill scored 6 points in a home win against the Hawks. His total of 104 points was matched by Whai guard Te Tuhi Lewis later in the round with Dru Leusogi-Ape (Franklin Bulls) also reaching a century in the final game of Round 9.

Top scorers (70pts+) after Round 9:

104 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

104 Nico Hill (Airs)

100 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)

96 Connor Coll (Sharks)

93 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)

92 Ben Hall (Sharks)

91 Hayden Jones (Giants)

88 Lachie Crate (Jets)

84 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

79 Tobias Cameron (Airs)

78 Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets)

74 Nick Davidson (Giants)

70 Kobe Kara (Hawks)

Top MVP vote gatherers after Round 9:

Despite being sidelined with a significant leg injury outstanding Hawks forward Tommy Fergusson remains at the top of the MVP standings.

63 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)

55 Hayden Jones (Giants)

53 Nick Davidson (Giants)

52 Ben Hall (Sharks)

51 Connor Coll (Sharks)

51 Robbie Coman (Nuggets)

51 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

49 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

49 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)

48 Josh Aitchison (Nuggets)

47 Aston Inwood (Giants)

44 Lachlan Crate (Jets)

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings after Round 9

10-2 Nelson Giants

7-3 Hawkes Bay Hawks, Wellington Saints

7-4 Taranaki Airs, Otago Nuggets

7-6 Auckland Tuatara

6-5 Canterbury Rams

4-7 Franklin Bulls

4-8 Tauranga Whai

2-10 Southland Sharks

1-10 Manawatu Jets



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