The Augusta Mountainairs have ended their three game losing streak with a gritty 75-70 win over the Go Media Jets.
Alonzo Burton hit four three’s to score a game high 19 points, Xavier Smith had 17 points, and Javonte Douglas added 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Taranaki were without starting point guard Houston O’Riley for the second straight game, and they were also missing key import Roger Woods. But after three nail biting losses, the Airs were able to come from behind to secure their second win, both against the Jets.
After scoring 124 points only a few days ago in the win over the Rangers, it looked like the Jets would continue their run, quickly going up 21-11 after the first quarter. But their two key scorers, Kuran Iverson and Daishon Knight struggled tonight, combining for 13-for-48. Iverson would end the game with 16 points, and Knight 14. Jets centre, Callum McRae, was two points shy of a double-double grabbing 13 rebounds.
Despite their poor shooting night, the two were still able keep the Jets in the contest, and after a spectacular put back from Brandon Lucas, the Jets were up five with under three minutes left in the game.
Taranaki would reply with back to back three pointers, one from point guard, Richard Rodger, and the other from Douglas who would follow up with a layup in transition to put the Airs up three with 1:01 remaining.
The Jets would have multiple attempts to tie the ball game, but were never able to get a clean look, Taranaki icing the game with two free throws from Smith.
Tonight, Smith had a strong game in the absence of Woods, in particular the third quarter with a couple of dunks including a highlight reel alley-oop from Burton.
The Airs looked like they might be in trouble when Douglas committed two early fouls, putting him out for the majority of the first quarter. But local, Dane Brooks, gave them a boost off the bench scoring eight of his 12 in the period. Taranaki improved offensively scoring 24 points in both the second and third periods, whilst the Jets would slowly deteriorate each period, eventually only managing 13 points in the final quarter.
The Jets will now have a couple of days to recover before they host the Mike Pero Nelson Giants on Sunday, 7pm. Taranaki will have a tough road double-header next week against the Giants and the Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams.
Week 4: Thursday, May 17
At TSB Stadium, New Plymouth
Augusta Mountainairs 75 (Alonzo Burton 19, Xavier Smith 17, Javonte Douglas 16)
Go Media Jets 70 (Kuran Iverson 16, Daishon Knight 14, Brandon Lucas 12)