The Southland Sharks have narrowly beaten the Nelson Giants 98-93 on Saturday evening to secure a spot in the Sal’s NBL final.
The Sharks had their noses in front for much of the contest and were able to hold on down the stretch to get the win. They’ll now play the defending champion Wellington Saints, setting up a rematch of last year’s final on Sunday.
Canadian Conor Morgan was fantastic for Southland, recording 25 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and five steals in 38 minutes of work. He shot 10-of-20 from the field and 1-of-4 from three.
Tall Blacks center Alex Pledger also turned in a big stat-line with 22 points, 12 rebounds, one assist and one steal on 8-of-14 shooting.
Orlando Coleman didn’t have the best night shooting from the field, but he still managed 17 points, five rebounds, six assists and one steal in 38 minutes. Coleman shot 6-of-16 overall.
Derona Raukawa chipped in 16 points with one 3-pointer in 30 minutes.
Big outings by Damon Heuir and Finn Delaney just weren’t enough for the Giants. Heuir amassed 25 points, four rebounds, one steal and one block on 10-of-21 shooting and 5-of-12 from three, while Delaney had 26 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks on 10-of-22 shooting and 5-of-10 from outside.
Australian import Kyle Adnam dropped 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting, while veteran Mika Vukona reeled in a whopping 15 rebounds to go with 10 points, three assists and one steal.
The Giants had a tremendous season and were one of the most consistent teams in the league. They gave the Sharks everything they could handle but Southland’s superior talent managed to rise above in the end.
The Sal’s NBL Grand Final is scheduled to tip-off at 5pm in Wellington.