With the biggest crowd of the season watching, The Good Home Taranaki Mountain Airs put on a show deserving of a win, only to be nudged out in the FOURTH extra period to lose to the Otago Oceana Gold Nuggets 137–145 at TSB Stadium, New Plymouth last night.
MountainAirs Coach Dave Bublitz said he has never known a game to go on and on like this game did.
The close game was very physical and at times out-of-control as players flew in all directions with inconsistent decisions from the refs.
The fourth quarter saw the Mountain Airs playing “catch up”. Amazing work from Airs’ Jack Leasure, Link Abrams and Ethan Rusbatch saw the gap close. The calls from the refs were starting to have a big impact on the game as Nuggets’ Mark Dickel took a swing at Airs’ Link Abrams. The crowd chanted “off, off, off” but the ref only gave Abrams 2 shots. This decision would haunt the Airs.
With 4.07mins remaining on the clock Nuggets’ Benny Anthony was fouled out of the game and expressed his displeasure to the crowd. At full-time the scores were locked 93-93 with a clutch shot from Airs’ Jack Leasure sealing the deal.
Airs’ Kenny Gabriel had a quiet night adding only 10 points and 6 rebounds to be fouled out in the second of the four extra periods.
Veteran Link Abrams for the Airs had his patience pushed to the limits but showed incredible “Mr Steady” skills by adding 27 points and 18 rebounds.
Airs’ Jack Leasure had an outstanding night leading his team by example with 41 points including nine three-pointers only to be fouled out of the fourth extra period with 31 seconds remaining.
With 1:57 on the clock it was tied at 135-135 as Nuggets’ Hayden Allen grabbed an easy two points making it 135-137. At 1:37 the Airs’ replied with clever work from Brad Anderson to Link Abrams for 2 to make it 137-137. A quick steal by Nuggets’ Hayden Allen and a pass to Akeem Wright added a further two to see the score 137-139. A foul by the Airs’ Brad Anderson saw Nuggets’ Mark Dickel sink 2/2 with the score going out to 137-141.
With 31 seconds on the clock Airs’ Jack Leasure was fouled out of the game. The notorious Nuggets’ Mark Dickel stepped up and sunk 2/2 137-143.
Airs’ Brad Anderson had a couple of good throws but bounced off the ring both times.
A foul on Brad Anderson put the Nuggets’ Mark Dickel back at the line. The crowd went insane and booed raucously but he held his cool to sink 2/2 to end the game at 137-145.
During the game the lead changed 39 times with the score tied 26 times.
TARANAKI MOUNTAIN AIRS 137 Jack Leasure 41, Link Abrams 27, Ethan Rusbatch 24, Aaron Bailey-Nowell 18, Brad Anderson 13, Kenny Gabriel 10, Sid Adams 4
OTAGO NUGGETS 145 – Hayden Allen 29, Mark Dickel 27, Antoine Tisby 26, Akeem Wright 25, Beny Anthony 18, Brendon Polyblank 12, Riki Buckrell 6, James Ross 2.
This article was published on the NZ Hoops website