Report Card from the weekend's 2014 Bartercard National Basketball League games.
The OceanaGold Nuggets have pulled off a huge upset defeating the Zerofees Southland.
It was the dream coaching debut for Mark Dickel, opting not to play as the visitor's got off to a strong start, leading the first quarter 27-20.
The last time the two teams met it was one of the Nuggets worst ever defeats, losing 114-67, but it was a new look Nuggets team that has added some size, out-rebounding the Sharks 46-35, Fijian Marques Whippy grabbing 17 on debut.
It was definitely not the start the defending champs were hoping for, but then again they did have a slow start last season and coach Paul Henare will take solace from the fact the bench shot a woeful 3/20 from the field.
NZ Breaker's guard Reuben Te Rangi should be a force in the league this season scoring a game high 28, but concerns are over the health of forward Brian Conklin who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, the forward was limited to only 22 minutes.
Nuggets new import Troy Payne tallied an impressive 24 points, ten rebounds and six assists, veteran forward Brendon Polyblank added 19 in 35 minutes.
In Nelson the Pacific Jewellers Saints have outscored the Fico Finance Giants 26-17 in the final quarter to win 84-78.
Corey Webster scored a game high 26 points, but it was not the best shooting night for the guard who shot 9/24, Lindsay Tait adding 20 as Wellington move to 2-0.
Coach Shane Heal electing to have Ernest Scott be a scoring punch off the bench, Scott scored 13 of his 16 in the second half.
Nelson coach Liam Flynn elected to have key members Mika Vukona, Brook Ruscoe and Phill Jones off the bench, all three having relatively quiet nights for their standards shooting 5/16.
New import Jamal Boykin was impressive on debut with 23 points, while causing opponent Elijah Obade trouble, as the young forward fouled out in 20 minutes.
Point guard Josh Bloxham had an efficient 16, going 6/7 from the field and 4/5 from the three point line, Josh Pace the only other Giant to reach double digits with 13, well below his average of 22.7 which won him the scoring title last season.
In Taradale the IMS Payroll Hawks have made amends for their loss on Wednesday to beat the Advice First Waikato Pistons 86-75, the home side outscoring their opponent 45-36 in the second half.
Hawks had five players reach double digits or more, American Dustin Scott scored 16 and added eight rebounds in 24 minutes as the Hawks outscored Waikato 17-5 in the last five minutes.
Former Nugget import Akeem Wright was the Pistons leading scorer with a game high 18, fellow import Corin Henry added 15, but the former Sydney King point guard only managed one assist.
Pistons did keep in the game through the three point line where they shot 41%, Australian based Zac Carter had a fine debut adding 13 points, 36 year old Casey Frank collecting a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in his first game in Waikato colours, but the Hawks depth was probably the difference.
Waikato will now travel up north to face the James Blond Super City Rangers on Sunday, Saints will play their third game in five games when they travel down to Christchurch to face the Canterbury Rams in their first game since 2008, and to round out the opening round the Good Home Mountain Airs will host the Breakers Manawatu Jets in both their first games of the season.
Friday, April 4
At Southland Stadium, Invercargill
Zerofees Southland Sharks 77 (Reuben Te Rangi 28, Brian Conklin 13, Gareth Dawson 12) OceanaGold Nuggets 83 (Troy Payne 20, Brendon Polyblank 19, Warren Carter 13), Final
Referees - Raewyn Willocks, Gavin Zimmerman, Matt Bathurst
HT: 40-41 (20-14)
3Q: 53-60 (13-19)
FT: 77-83 (24-23)
Fiba Live Stats
At Pettigrew Green Arena, Napier
IMS Payroll Hawks 86 (Dustin Scott 16, Everard Bartlett 16, Kareem Johnson 13, Jarrod Kenny 16) Advice First Waikato Pistons 75 (Akeem Wright 18, Casey Frank 16, Corin Henry 15), Final
Referees - Melony Wealleans, Apai Apai, Shane Nikora
HT: 41-39 (19-16)
3Q: 64-60 (23-21)
FT: 86-75 (22-15)
Fiba Live Stats
At Saxton Stadium, Nelson
Fico Finance Nelson Giants 78 (Jamal Boykin 23, Josh Bloxham 16, Josh Pace 13) Pacific Jewellers Saints 84 (Corey Webster 26, Lindsay Tait 20, Ernest Scott 16), Final
Referees - Dallas Pickering, Yalla Edwards, Brent O'Hagan
HT: 39-40 (18-23)
3Q: 61-58 (22-18)
FT: 78-84 (17-26)
Fiba Live Stats