This 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.