A late flurry of points and staunch defensive effort has lifted the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams to an 88-83 win over the Manawatu Jets.
Defence was the story of this game and it started from the opening tip. Both teams would not allow for any easy buckets, meaning points only came every so often. The double-digit mark was only broken by the Jets at the three-minute mark and only a Wally Ellenson lay up separated the two at the interval as the score read 16-14.
Points were just as hard to come by in the second period, with Shane Temara only scoring the quarter's first points from open play at the eight-minute mark. The game picked up following the twin's made basket, with both teams connecting on jumpers from inside and outside to keep the score ticking over. The Jets did just enough in the first half to keep their noses out in front and resulted in a 41-37 scoreline in their favour at the big break.
Another back and forth quarter was played out in the third, with the Rams unable to recapture the lead and the Jets incapable of building on their narrow advantage. The hosts three-headed monster in Daishon Knight, Kuran Iverson and Ellenson made sure their team kept the Rams at bay, but it was telling that stamina was running low as the period came to a close. Haize Walker knocked down a trifecta 40 seconds left, but that was answered by a Taylor Britt triple to cut the lead back to one going into the fourth.
The play followed suit in the last 10 minutes, with both teams going tit for tat for seven of the remaining 60 seconds. A Michael Karena hook shot at the three-minute mark gave the Rams a one-point buffer and back-to-back layups to Emmett Naar and Isaiah Wilkins bumped that lead to five with just under two minutes to go. Taane Samuels then stood up with back-to-back triples, snatching back the advantage for the Jets. Naar replied with another layup to tilt the scales back in Rams favour, followed up by a Tolovae free throw to push it out to a two-point margin. Iverson found himself at the line on the next possession, but he too was only able to convert once. The Jets fouled on ensuing possessions and Naar nailed all four of his attempts to ice the game.
Manawatu Jets 83 lost to Canterbury Rams 88
Jets - Kuran Iverson 27pts, Daishon Knight 17pts, Wally Ellenson 12pts & 12rbs.
Rams - Cam Gliddon 23pts, Emmett Naar 17pts, Isaiah Wilkins 14pts.
Stats That Matter - the Jets had the game, but Emmett Naar was super-cool down the stretch and nailed four big shots from the charity stripe that proved to be the difference in the end.
TAB MVP Votes - Kuran Iverson (Jets) 9, Cam Gliddon (Rams) 9, Daishon Knight (Jets) 4, Emmett Naar (Rams) 4, Isaiah Wilkins (Rams) 3, Shane Temara (Jets) 1
FULL STATS HERE.
Photo credit: PhotoSportNZ