Fans given reason to cheer

Here's the plan: Southland Sharks head coach Rob Beveridge explains his game plan to his team. Photos: Laura Smith

AFTER not playing at home for 665 days, the Southland Sharks continued their strong early season form with a thrilling 78-76 win over the Taranaki Mountainairs.

Super fans: Hope Mohi and daughter Marlique show their support.

Before the match, crowd expectations were high.

Hope Mohi, of Invercargill, and her daughter Marlique (5) were dressed for the occasion, complete with orange outfits and a lot of sparkle.

“This is her fourth season. She has just missed one last year [the Sharks opted not to compete last year].”

Asked what her favourite part of the game was, Marlique quickly replied “the hoops”.

Clark Manson (9), sporting a temporary Sharks tattoo on his arm and a basketball on his face, said he was a big fan and had watched games since he was 5.

Fan boy: Clark Manson got into the spirit of the game.

“Probably my favourite part of the game is when they shoot. I love it when they dunk.”

The Sharks led by 20 points at half-time, but the Airs fought back to make the home team work hard in the final quarter.

United States import Josh Cunningham scored a two-pointer in the final seconds of the game to secure the win, much to the relief of the crowd.

He was the Sharks top-scorer with 18 points. Alonzo Burton and Toby Gillooly contributed 15 and 13 points respectively.

The win was the second of the season for the Sharks following their season-opening 19-point victory over the Giants in Nelson the previous week.

The Sharks face the Wellington Saints in Wellington tomorrow. Their next home-game is on May 23, when the Giants come to town hoping to reverse last week’s result.