The EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls made it four wins on the bounce with an 83-72 win against Property Brokers See Me Media Manawatu Jets on Saturday evening at The Trusts Arena.
It was a victory that delighted the enthusiastic home supporters, who surely will return in big numbers for the remaining Bulls fixtures.
It was a balanced performance from the Bulls with five players in double figures. Sam Timmins posted 17 points and eight rebounds, Dom Kelman-Poto corralled seven rebounds to go with 15 points and veteran Everard Bartlett scored 13.
For the Jets, Jayden Bezzant led all scorers with 20 points (7/13FG), Taane Samuels had 17 points and Ashton McQueen 13. Tom Vodanovich pulled down 12 rebounds but registered only eight points.
Manawatu was dealt a blow before tip-off with the scratching of Hyrum Harris, who sustained a hip injury against the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams on Wednesday.
Haize Walker replaced Harris in the Jets starting line-up, but it was the Bulls in the ascendancy at the first break leading 25-17 – six points apiece for Nikau McCullough (11 points) and Timmins.
The Jets were struggling to make baskets and Jets Head Coach Tim McTamney showed his frustration by picking up a technical foul. McQueen made back-to-back threes to improve his coach’s mood, but his team were still six adrift at the mid-point of the period.
It was the Bulls shooting that then turned cool before Isaac Davidson (10 points) and Timmins made scores. Samuels was enjoying a good half, a couple of baskets just before the break meant he led all scorers at halftime (15 points) and the Jets deficit was only four points (41-37).
Ill-discipline was threatening to disrupt Manawatu's progress, after an unsportsmanlike foul was followed with Bartlett scoring five straight points to give the Bulls a 61-49 lead.
Kelman-Poto and Bezzant exchanged threes at the end of the third – the Bulls 70-55 ahead at the end of the quarter.
A Timmins put-back dunk early in the fourth had the large Bulls following on their feet, but they went quiet when Nick Fee scored a pair of threes and Bezzant added another.
The Jets deficit was down to eight points (76-68) with five minutes to play but soon after their chances were dealt a major blow as Vodanovich was ejected after picking up his second technical foul.
It was one set-back too many for the Jets.
Sky City MVP Votes:
Jayden Bezzant (Jets-8), Nikau McCullough (Bulls-7), Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls-5), Sam Timmins (Bulls-5), Taane Samuel (Jets-3), Ashton McQueen (Jets-1), Connor Woodbridge (Bulls-1).