Mountain Airs win tough











Receiving a presentation for his 201st National Basketball League games in front of his home crowd was a proud moment for Airs captain Aaron Bailey-Nowell.  He walked on court to a huge cheer from the crowd holding hands with his two gorgeous children.

His strong physical play and focused determination was evident from the first to last whistle.  He stepped up under enormous pressure with 2.6 seconds on the clock, score tied at 69 – 69 and slotted two free-throws like he was at home in his backyard.  The crowd went into a frenzy and spent the remainder of the game on their feet with the game finishing 71 – 69 with the Airs taking their first win.

With the lead changing 11 times, MountainAirs biggest lead 8 points and the Pistons leading by 9 combined with the score being tied eight times, fans’ senses went into overload.

Import Suleiman Braimoh had a fantastic game scoring 29 points and claiming 16 rebounds.  Captain Aaron Bailey-Nowells netted 8 from 12 frees with the ball refusing to sink for most of his other shots at the hoop, finishing on 12 points.

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Airs Fall To Jets In Season Opener

Airs Kaye McKeeThis season’s young Taranaki Mountain Airs gave the critics something to talk about in their opening game.

With only five minutes on the clock and 70 – 72 on the scoreboard they showed supporters at the TSB stadium in New Plymouth what they thought of critics questioning their lack of experience with a display of sheer grit and determination.

Fresh off the plane, import Sulemain Braimoh netted 16 points after only being in the country three days, while fellow import Oliver had an impressive game scoring 30 points after spending the previous four days sick.

Both teams struggled as the ball refused to fall with the Airs scoring on just 27 from 73 shots from the field with Breakers Manawatu Jets failing to ignite shooting 31 from 75.

The teams fared no better with their three-pointers as the Airs’ Oliver only managed to find the basket on two from seven, and Brad Anderson 1 from 4, while for Jets McLean shot 2 from 12 and Burton 1 from 5 from deep.

With the lead changing 8 times and being tied 10, the Airs played hard to stop the Jets’ 13 point lead, leaving their run to the last five minutes.

A clock violation and travelling from the Jets combined with a super high rebound and spectacular block from Braimoh had fans believing a win was inevitable. However, the Jets dug deep with Jones and Jenkins quickly putting points on the board to seal a win 82-74.

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Quadruple Overtime for Good Home Taranaki Mountain Airs

With the biggest crowd of the season watching, The Good Home Taranaki Mountain Airs put on a show deserving of a win, only to be nudged out in the FOURTH extra period to lose to the Otago Oceana Gold Nuggets 137–145 at TSB Stadium, New Plymouth last night.

MountainAirs Coach Dave Bublitz said he has never known a game to go on and on like this game did.

The close game was very physical and at times out-of-control as players flew in all directions with inconsistent decisions from the refs.

The fourth quarter saw the Mountain Airs playing “catch up”.  Amazing work from Airs’ Jack Leasure, Link Abrams and Ethan Rusbatch saw the gap close.  The calls from the refs were starting to have a big impact on the game as Nuggets’ Mark Dickel took a swing at Airs’ Link Abrams. The crowd chanted “off, off, off” but the ref only gave Abrams 2 shots. This decision would haunt the Airs.

With 4.07mins remaining on the clock Nuggets’ Benny Anthony was fouled out of the game and expressed his displeasure to the crowd.  At full-time the scores were locked 93-93 with a clutch shot from Airs’ Jack Leasure sealing the deal.

Airs’ Kenny Gabriel had a quiet night adding only 10 points and 6 rebounds to be fouled out in the second of the four extra periods.

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New Plymouth Bears (MountainAirs) celebrate 20 Years with a Win

The MountainAirs did a great job coming away with a hard fought win on a night they celebrated 20 years of Basketball in Taranaki.

To celebrate the milestone the team played in an alternative strip featuring their old name – The Good Home New Plymouth Bears – however that was the only thing ‘old’ about their performance.

From the first whistle Airs’ Jack (young legs) Leasure came out to share the “pleasure” scoring 33 points in a very fast paced game whilst Kenny “showman” Gabriel entertained the crowd and was on fire with 22 points.  He was just as impressive on defensive leaping his way to 12 rebounds.

Brad Anderson and Ethan Rusbatch also had an outstanding game both scoring 16 points.

Whilst on the other ledger the Rangers’ Duane Bailey scored an impressive 23 points, with Houston O’Riley and Carl Buck both scoring 18 points. The first half was full of steals, fast breaks and spectacular baskets from both sides which impressed the crowd.

With seconds remaining until half time Airs’ Ethan Rusbatch launched the ball at the hoop from halfway earning himself a gigantic 3 points and a roar of approval from the crowd.

The Airs were relentless in their defence which was reflected in the score – going into half time 56 – 47.

Airs “Mr Reliable” Link Abrams had a frustrating night with only 8 points and 3 fouls.  Every decision seemed to go against him.  He took his frustration out in defence with 3 blocks, 6 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

Not to be left out of the night’s winning tally Dane Brooks and Aaron Bailey-Nowell both scored 7 points, Andrew Green 3 and Ben Crombie 2.

When the Rangers’ found the opportunity they made very fast breaks to score but spent the entire game playing catch-up.

The final score was 114 – 93 to the MountainAirs

The Good Home New Plymouth Bears (MountainAirs) – Jack Leasure 33, Kenny Gabriel 22, Brad Anderson 16, Ethan Rusbatch 16, Link Abrams 8, Dane Brooks 7, Aaron Bailey-Nowell 7, Andrew Green 3, Ben Crombie 2.

Super City Rangers – Duane Bailey 23, Houston O’Riley 18, Carl Buck 18, Shea Ili 13, Patrich Bolstad 12, Cameron Stuart 5, Kristoph Farensohn 2, Robson Tavita 2,

This article was published on the NZ Hoops website

Taranaki MountainAirs -v- Hawkes Bay Hawks

Tonight was all about supporting the Mellowpuff Trust.  There was a great curtain raiser against Team Pink and Team Black.  According to Terry Long, Trustee, “Team Pink won in humorous and controversial circumstances.”  It was all about bringing people together to enjoy the basketball while enjoying friendship and fellowship.

A special guest for the evening was Jane Dingle, New Plymouth, who was playing basketball for the first time.  Jane had nursed Terry’s daughter Melissa.  Another guest was Haydn Langton, Opunake, who paid $700 through an auction, for the opportunity to have a starting spot in the curtain raiser.

For the main event the MountainAirs came out wearing a one-off strip supporting the Mellowpuff Trust and the crowd roared with approval.

Jack Leasure came out with lots to prove after last week’s disappointing foul out of the game in the closing minutes.  He got the crowd excited with an impressive lay-up in the opening minutes going on to score 3/5  three pointers and a very impressive 12/12 free throws (which included 7/8 technical fouls).

Link Abrams imposed presence throughout the entire game shooting 4/6 field goals as well as claiming 5 defensive rebounds.

Newcomer to the team Kenny Gabriel made his 2.09m presence well-known shooting 9/15 field goals, 2/5 three pointers, 5/6 free throws along with 14 defensive rebounds.  He also managed to swat away 3  blocks.

With the score at 73-65 to the MountainAirs and 6.16 minutes on the clock, the Hawks threw everything into the game and bodies were flying all over the court and out of bounds.  The crowd thought that some of the refs calls were questionable and loud “BOOs” resounded around the stadium.

Soon after, outstanding work by Aaron Bailey-Nowell and Brad Anderson saw the score leap to 80-73 and the departure of The Hawk’s Darko Cohadarevic, fouled out of the game.

Brian Greene got an unsportsmanlike foul on Aaron Bailey-Nowell and the stadium roof nearly blew off with appreciation for the call.

Paora Winitana made a deliberate foul and then got a technical foul for back chatting and shoving the ref. This caused Tad Baldwin to lose control and storm onto the court yelling at the ref.  The crowd shouted their feelings and the noise was incredible. With 2.13 minutes on the clock and the score at 81-76 to the MountainAirs, the remonstrations continued with the Hawks’ Coach, Tad Baldwin eventually escorted from the stadium.

There were 8 free throws resulting from the debacle and Jack Leasure stepped up to the free throw line and after a little confusion with the final number, proceeded to sink 7 of them taking the score to 88-76.

The Hawks’ Brian Greene was next to exit the court fouled out of the game as tempers flared and bodies were flying in all directions again.  Kenny Gabriel’s temper momentarily got the better of him but he was quickly pulled away by his team members. He showed his emotion by cutting through the defense and scoring with .24 seconds on the clock.

The final score was 101-86 to the MountainAirs.

Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs -v- Manawatu Jets Basketball

Wow what a sad night it was last night.  The MountainAirs never fired 🙁 Perhaps it was the touch of snow that our lovely Mt Egmont had on it? Jack Leasure could do nothing right only scoring 6 out of 25 field goals which seemed to rattle the team.  He redeemed himself a little by 6 defensive rebounds and 7 assists.  Kenny Gabriel had an amazing game with 10 defensive rebounds and 3 blocks as well as scoring 20 points.  Link Abrams did the right move at the right time and played a great game scoring 17 points. For me the highlight of the evening was sitting with Daryn Shaw and meeting Angelo Hill!