Its a Rematch of 2008
Tagged in: NBL
Waikato Pistons move one step closer to a three peat after defeating the Fico Finance Nelson Giants 74-62, while the Exodus Saints has survived in a thriller beating the 0800 Easy LPG Bay Hawks 98-92 making it a rematch of the 2008 Finals.
The Pistons trailed by nine at the end of first quarter, but they won the second and third quarters by a margin of 47-28. Hayden Allen having a game high 28 points, Thomas Abercrombie and Alex Pledger the only other Piston players to score in double figures with 14 and 16 respectively.
It was a low scoring affair, both teams shooting only 35%, while the Giants shot a poor 4/25 from the beyond the arc. Giants best defender Mika Vukona did not play because of an injury sustained in the Southland Sharks game which was a huge blow.
As they say defense wins championships and the Pistons will be feeling confident after holding the Giants leading scorer Phill Jones to seven points shooting 3/14 from the field. Giants Michael Harrison top scored with 18 adding 17 rebounds and six blocks. Mike Fitchett the only other Giant with double figures scoring 18.
Pistons dominating the boards out rebounding the visitors 52-39, import Rashad Tucker grabbing a game high 14 rebounds.
In Wellington the Saints have had to hold off a valiant Hawks team that refused to quit, Josh Pace again leading his side with 30 points and 10 assists.
In the fourth the Saints looked like they might pull away when they had a nine point lead, but Hawks would cut the lead to three multiple times. Erron Maxey left his finest till last when he scored 12 of his 24 in the final period. Pace again hitting unbelievable shots in the fourth scoring 13 in the quarter.
Eric Devendorf returned from injury scoring 22 which included 11/14 from the charity stripe, Lindsay Tait adding 13 points and 8 rebounds and Casey Frank grabbing 14 rebounds.
Hawks big man Jon Rogers had a tough game with 16 points and and 10 rebounds and Chris Daniel shot the ball well of the bench scoring 16 points shooting 5/7 three pointers.
It was a very physical encounter with the Hawks committing 31 fouls to the Saints 19. Saints going to the line an incredible 45 times making 36.
Now the rivalry between Waikato and Wellington continues when they meet each other in the finals for the fourth time since 2000, last time in 2008 when the Pistons clean swept the Saints 2-0.
Saints coach Pero Cameron has been involved in all those finals, but it has been all with Waikato. What a finals series it will be.
Friday, June 25
At TSB Arena, Wellington
Exodus Saints 98 (Erron Maxey 24, Eric Devendorf 22, Nick Horvath 13, Lindsay Tait 13) 0800 Easy LPG Bay Hawks 92 (Josh Pace 30, Jon Rogers 16, Chris Daniel 16), Final
Referees – Dallas Pickering, Andy Thackray, Raewyn Willocks
HT: 47-41 (28-20)
3Q: 68-61 (21-20)
FT: 98-92 (30-31)
Saints v Hawks Boxscore (24 KB html)
At Hamilton Boys High, Hamilton
Waikato Pistons 74 (Hayden Allen 28, Alex Pledger 16, Thomas Abercrombie 14) Fico Finance Nelson Giants 62 (Michael Harrison 18, Mike Fitchett 18), Final
Referees – Tim Brown, Melony Wealleans, Gavin Whiu
HT: 41-38 (27-15)
3Q: 54-49 (13-11)
FT: 74-62 (20-13)
Giants v Pistons Boxscore (24 KB html)