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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

Airs come off second in scrappy battle with Rangers

IMG_7592The Augusta Taranaki Mountainairs attacked the James Blond Supercity Rangers head on in front of a home crowd last night at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth.

In a battle that resembled a rugby game more than a basketball game, bodies were sent flying and at one stage were even stacked up as Rangers’ Reuben Te Rangi flattened Airs’ Derek Albertson.

“On the score sheet we don’t have the biggest line ups and don’t have the biggest names.  You look at that team.  Anyone of their players can be in the starting five in the country really.  We always look to come out and take everybody by surprise and work our arses off.  I think we did a pretty good job,” said Albertson.

“We have to take positives out of everything.  We only lost to them by 2 last time.  We are a young inexperienced team and we are still growing.”

During most of the first quarter the Airs were matching the Rangers.  Airs’ Brad Anderson was shooting well from deep while both Aaron Fuller and Dyson King-Hawea had a strong game on defence as well as attack. 

Read more…

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.

Read more…

MountainAirs snatch last second win

6-6-14 (1) 6-6-14 (2)














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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

‘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.”

Read more…

Good Home Taranaki MountainAirs -v- Nelson Giants

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…