Saints crush Giants in Wellington
The Wellington Saints kept their perfect season going as they disposed of the Nelson Giants, 95 - 69, again at home at the TSB Bank Arena.
It was a messy start for both teams, with scoring slow at just five-a-piece after 4 minutes.
Tohi-Smith Milner was involved early with a made three, but early fouls on him and MVP candidate Dion Prewster kept the game tight as the Giants hit the bonus early.
It was the Giants that started the second-quarter well, courtesy of an Anzac Risetto and-one.
It was back and forward early in the second, with the home team Saints going down by four before some excellent shooting by Roach and Smith-Milner brought them back.
Another Smith-Milner play broke the game open. This time, a block led to a transition bucket, and then a Nelson timeout as the Saints took the lead.
Import Hunter Hale was the aggressor for the visitors as he got to 15 in the second stanza.
The Saints defense was getting better as it stayed tight late in the second. Foul trouble was still slowing the game down, but there were some exciting moments as the Saints shot well from deep early. Veteran Troy McLean was in the thick of it, of course, nailing two big triples in the first half.
Half time score 39 - 39
Prewster got going in the second as the game opened up. The Saints spread the scoring around though, as they opened their lead up to 10 halfway through the second.
Taane Samuel kept up his rich vein of form, nailing three three-pointers in the third as the lead stayed around ten. The Saints superior shooting and the hot hand of Samuel gave them the lead by 13 with a minute to go.
Two Kerwin Roach free throws followed a Giants turnover and big Saints stop in the last minute, and the lead was all of a sudden 16 at the end of the third.
It was Prewster’s turn to heat up again in the fourth before Samuel caught fire with two more threes. The Saints defense, as has been the theme of the season, applied the blowtorch on the defensive end in the second half, as the lead blew out to 26 halfway through the fourth.
Coach Zico Coronel was able to get his key players to rest early as they had the game in the bag midway through the fourth.
Young wing Kael Robinson impressed late as both teams emptied their benches. Isaac Miller-Jose then put the icing on the cake with a thunderous dunk.
Final score 95 - 69.
Taane Samuel had 24 points on an excellent 8 of 10 shooting, including 5 three-pointers.
Tohi Smith-Milner stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks.
Kenneth Tuffin had 7 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals in an impressive 20 minutes off the bench.