Heart but No Wins for Fighting Airs

19068447649_d2c86a8067The Airs’ season ends winless but with huge heart.

As the season ends for the Augusta Taranaki MountainAirs the records are mounting even though  win eluded them.

On Sunday night the Airs came out fighting and gave their home crowd an awesome end to the season.  Aaron Fuller played an outstanding game breaking the NBL record scoring 54 points in a game and pulling in 19 rebounds.

“It feels good to take the record but it would have been a lot sweeter to finish the season with a win.  Individually it is kind of good but I would have rather got a win with the team to be honest,” said Fuller.

“Tonight’s game felt pretty good until we made a mistake and didn’t go into overtime.  It would have been better to have a win but I mean we had some injuries.  We just kept fighting and I’m proud of our guys in how we finished the season.  We just didn’t lay down and give up but we kept fighting.”

The Airs challenged the Super City Rangers the entire game with the lead changing 12 times.  The Rangers jumped ahead 14 points with the Airs’ determination pulling them back in to the game.

With import Chris Hagan out with injury Houston O’Riley stepped in to help adding 11 points, five turnovers, one steal and three assists.

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Airs Suffer Heavy Defeat

IMG_2739A win still evades the Augusta Taranaki MountainAirs as they went down heavily to the Canterbury Rams in New Plymouth last night 106 – 68.

Coach Daryn Shaw said it is a constant struggle to keep the team motivated.

“We just had no energy tonight.  We were just flat.  We found it hard to get into a rhythm.  We just couldn’t combat their size and their zones.”

The highlight of the game was an outstanding performance by Xavier Shaw with the game high of 18 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal and three turnovers.

“It felt good.  I just tried to bring some energy off the bench.  I tried to lift the intensity on the court.  It was good that my shots were able to fall and it got my confidence up which was good.

“Stats wise it was probably my best game yet.  I just go out there and play as hard as I can.  That is all I can do.”

Quintin Bailey also made the most of his 13 minutes of game time adding six points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one turnover.

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Jets leave Airs still searching for their first win

Photo by Ken Davies
Photo by Ken Davies

The Augusta Taranaki Mountain Airs’ typical hard-grinding game play rattled the Manawatu Jets in New Plymouth on Saturday night.

Unfortunately for the Airs the 108 – 96 loss means they remain without a win so far this season leaving Coach Daryn Shaw to head back to the drawing board.

“The effort is certainly there but it is just being consistent as a team.  We have our defensive principals.  We don’t want to be beaten to the middle.  Some people drive to the middle.  We want to force them to the side line or the base line.  I know they are trying to do it but it’s just the lapses.  We just need to be more consistent.  We have to find a way to be more consistent and not patchy.”

Assistant Coach Willie Banks added “We have to have the energy on defence that we have on offence.”

The Airs took 33 rebounds with the Jets 35 and the Airs had 22 points off the bench whereas the Jets had 33.

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Nelson Giants blast Augusta Mountainairs

Lachie Fenwick shoots over Ali Granger Photo - Ken Davies
Lachie Fenwick shoots over Ali Granger
Photo – Ken Davies

The top of the NBL table Nelson Giants gave the Taranaki Mountain Airs home crowd a very impressive game on Friday night in New Plymouth.

The Giants controlled the game from start to finish with super defence and impressive shooting to reach a final score 109 – 80.  The Airs home crowd was left in no doubt why they have six wins while the Airs struggle to claim their first.

The Augusta Taranaki Mountainairs import Chris Hagan was out with an injury and this left Coach Daryn Shaw struggling the entire game.

“We got a good whipping.  Unlike previous games we have always been in them.  This game was always going to be difficult and without Chris it just got harder as we rely quite heavily on our import.  We had guys trying to initiate our offence who aren’t used to doing it.

“They (Giants) capitalised on the turnovers and got an easy bucket. That doesn’t look good.  They are a big athletic team with great defence.”

Nelson’s McKenzie Moore had a super game with fast breaks and slam dunks and was quite often found unmarked.  His speed and agility was amazing to watch as he added 33 impressive points to the scoreboard.

He was also responsible for six steals, four rebounds and 12 assists.

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Hawks win battle over the Airs

Photo by Ken Davies
Photo by Ken Davies

The Augusta Taranaki Mountain Airs battled hard against the Hawkes Bay Hawks at the TSB stadium in New Plymouth last night.

Airs Aaron Bailey-Nowell and Brad Anderson both showed great leadership and commitment as each team battled for the lead.

The lead changed 13 times and was tied a further seven in the tightly contested game.  The Hawks came out the victor 118 – 90 in the final minutes of the game.

Captain Aaron Bailey-Nowell said he found the loss frustrating.

“It is the same things that have been haunting us over these 5 loses that we have had.  It’s the execution down the stretch and playing defence.

“I thought Sulieman showed why he’s the all star 5 in the MVP.  He really took over the game but we could have stepped up as a team defensively.  Another one down and we just have to go back to the drawing board.”

“It felt like a really tight game.  I thought it could have got away on us a couple of times.  They pulled out to a double digital lead at one stage.  So showing true fight we know how to fight back but it’s just getting over the hump and getting the win.

“I always try and lead by example and hope that it rubs off on the guys.  It’s a game of 40 minutes.  We showed that we are right there but we can’t get over the hump.”

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Saints rattled by Airs determination

Airs Aaron Fuller
Airs Ashton McQueen watches as team mate Aaron Fuller leaps for the hoop.

The Augusta Taranaki Mountain Airs played a very competitive home game against the Wellington Saints in their opening game of the season.

They matched the Saints play for play during the first two quarters even though three of their players had 2 fouls early in the first quarter at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth.

Saints Coach Cameron Pero said he thinks the Airs will give a lot of teams trouble this season.

“It’s typical Mountain Airs basketball, I have come here and lost before.  They played good basketball and we are very, very happy to come away with a win.

“We have had a month to prepare knowing we are going to play each other and we are just unsure what each other runs because on game night not everyone ran their stuff.

“It’s the second year for Streaky (Coach Shaw) and he has come on leaps and bounds.  I don’t think he is a new coach any more but has a few games under his belt and it definitely showed tonight.

“I didn’t think we hit our straps.  I think we were good in some respects but poor in others.  We need to address some obvious issues.

“On saying that, I still commend our guys for coming out of here with a tough win. It was tough, really tough and we were able to just keep ahead of them.”

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MountainAirs snatch last second win

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With 25.3 seconds remaining on the clock and the score locked at 74-74, the very vocal Taranaki crowd at the TSB Stadium were on their feet encouraging The Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs as loudly as they could.

Airs’ Brad Anderson and Suleiman Braimoh took time to settle the team as the clock counted down.  Great team work found Suleiman who put up an awesome winning shot from just inside the arc leaving 1.6 seconds on the clock.

The noise was deafening as the crowd celebrated whilst the Wellington Saints called a time-out.

Air’s captain Aaron Bailey-Nowell’s outstanding effort was rewarded as he intercepted a Saints pass creating a win for the Airs 76-74.

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An Interview With Taranaki Standout Suleiman Braimoh

After being named Most Valuable Player of the NBL league for the fourth successive week Suleiman Braimoh of the Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs talks to Sharyn Smart about playing in New Zealand.

Sharyn Smart: The MountainAirs shoot the least of any NBL team from deep, and the most at the rim – is it hard sometimes as a big man to get clean shots when you have guys who like to get their shots inside, occasionally clogging the lane on offence?

Suleiman Braimoh: Sometimes it might be a little tough, a little clogged up in there for me but I think as a team we do a good job of distributing the ball.  I think our teams passing is pretty good so even though we don’t shoot that well from deep I think we do good work inside so that makes up for it.

SS: Aled Jones does a great job of cutting underneath a player under the hoop.

SB: I think things like that, him cutting around and drawing attention from somebody else, I think our interior play is one of our strengths.  We do a good job of getting it into the paint so I think we are getting better from shooting from deep but I think when we play from inside out that works to our advantage.

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Mountain Air too thin for Rams

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The noise was deafening and the crowd were on their feet for the final 37.1 seconds of the game at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth as the Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs held off the Rams to claim their fourth win.

With the score 93 – 90 the Rams’ foul count soared as they fought with desperation for the win. Both Marcel Jones and Matthew Rogers clocked up the fouls and were shown the door late.

The fouls kept coming for the Rams with Jeremy Kench the last of the night. Suleiman shot 1 from 2 to end the game 98 – 93 a fourth win in a row for the Airs with the crowd roaring their approval.

Airs’ Coach Daryn Shaw said he thought the Rams had stepped up and played a lot harder than previously.

“Canterbury is a really talented team. They have got some really good players. They certainly did some things that caused us to adjust for sure.”

“Our four main guys really came to the party and played really well at the critical moments. I think it was an exciting game and all the boys played well. They (Rams) threw a lot of hooks at us that made us adjust but I think we always just grind it out.”

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‘AO’ comes up BIG for Airs

11-5-14 (2)A 3 pointer by Derek Albertsen on the final buzzer completed a superb win for the Taranaki Good Home MountainAirs.

The Airs came out on fire only slowing slightly in the 4th quarter in front of their home crowd at the TSB stadium in New Plymouth.

Airs’ Adrian Oliver played his best game yet proving to critics he has found his “shooting mojo” with a massive 42 points with four from seven 3 pointers, 4 from 5 frees and 7 rebounds.

Coach Daryn Shaw was impressed with Oliver stepping up and delivering with the crowd also voicing their approval.

“We have put the heat on AO.  He’s an outstanding shooter/scorer and we haven’t quite seen it.  For him to come out tonight and really put on a great performance is not a surprise to him or to us.”

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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!