The Southland Sharks have escaped with a 112-105 win over the Taranaki Mountainairs on Thursday night.
The Airs were in line for the big upset victory but a 32-22 fourth quarter by the Sharks helped propel them to the win.
Both teams were scorching hot from the field. Taranaki shooting 59 percent from the field and 48 percent from three (16-of-33), while Southland shot 61 percent from the floor and 42 percent from distance (9-of-21).
Orlando Coleman erupted for the Sharks with 27 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block in 34 minutes of work. He shot an incredible 9-of-10 from the field and 1-of-2 from three.
Conor Morgan and Reuben Te Rangi each added 17 points and combined for six 3-pointers, while James Hunter dropped 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting off the bench.
The Airs had three players amass at least 20 points. Alonzo Burton had 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 6-of-10 from three, adding six assists and one steal in 36 minutes.
Houston O’Riley canned 22 points, six assists and two steals on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from three, while Xavier Smith finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists on 8-of-14 shooting and 2-of-6 from outside.
Dane Brooks also contributed 18 points with three 3-pointers for Taranaki.
The Sharks are now 11-3 following Thursday’s victory and are in with a shot to finish No. 1 on the ladder. The Airs drop to 3-11 with the loss.