The absence of their captain Aaron Bailey-Knowles due to a one game suspension created a bigger workload for the young MountainAirs with Brad Anderson taking on captain duties.
Even though Braimoh Suleiman couldn’t train all week he did his job exceedingly well pulling in an impressive total of 15 rebounds and scoring 21 points. Not to be outdone Adrian Oliver had a strong game scoring 27 points with 7 from 11 frees and 2 very impressive steals reflected in the Airs’ 5 fast break points stats.
With the quarter time score 14 – 20 and then the half time score 30 – 38 the MountainAirs were very much in the game.
Kaye McKee had a super game with 12 points, drawing 5 fouls and 3 rebounds. The ball would just not sink for Brad Anderson as he missed two 3 pointers and netted 2 out of 10 field goals scoring 6 points.
Both Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs’ coach Daryn Shaw and Fico Finance Nelson Giants’ coach Liam Flynn had words with the referees with teams sent to the bench as a scoreboard dispute was settled.
Giants Jamal Boykin and Josh Pace dominated their team’s scoring with 20 points with 9 rebounds and 21 points with 6 rebounds respectively with Mika Vukona adding a further 14 points with 9 rebounds.
In the 3rd quarter the MountainAirs found their rhythm surging ahead with 10 unanswered points. The crowd at the TSB Stadium went crazy sensing a comeback from the home team. Unfortunately it was short lived as the Nelson Giants fought back ending the quarter 69 – 56.
In the final quarter MountainAirs’ Quintin Bailey and Beauden Giddy got their first taste of court time before the Nelson Giants ended the game 92 – 76.
Assistant Coach Steve McKean said the team played hard without their captain.
“Free throws hurt us a little bit (19 out of 30). We’re so young. All you can do is go out and work hard. Our guys certainly did that but we just weren’t good enough. We really, really missed Aaron Bailey Nowell tonight. We’ve talked about it with Aaron and he has served his penalty. We hope that we never see that again.”
“Adrian Oliver played well. He had his best game of the season tonight which is good to see and he will only get better.”
“Kaye McKee played real well he’s just smart. He’s a very intelligent basketball player he has a high basketball IQ, works hard and he did a good job.”
Coach Daryn Shaw said the team was always going to struggle without Aunty (Aaron Bailey-Nowell) but was impressed with the team’s effort.
“In a lot of respects they stepped up. You have to take some positives out of there.”
“Oliver is a really talented player which he showed tonight. The big fella (Suleiman Braimoh) did really well. Former Spotswood College head boy Kaye McKee really helped out a lot.”
Fico Finance Nelson Giants 92 – Josh Pace 21, Jamal Boykin 20, Mike Vukona 14.
Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs 76 – Adrian Oliver 27, Suleiman Braimoh 21, Kaye McKee 12.