Sharks miss out on NBL title

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Southland Sharks Derone Raukawa in action during the NBL Grand Final in Tauranga on Saturday, June 24. Photo: Brian McKenzie

THE SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks fell short in their bid for a third National Basketball League (NBL) title, falling to the Wellington Saints in Saturday’s grand final played at ASB Baypark Stadium in Tauranga.

After dispatching the Supercity Rangers in last Friday’s sudden death semi-final 106-67, the Sharks were well beaten in the final by the Wellington Saints, who in the process completed a historic undefeated season.

The Saints won 108-75.Sharks coach Judd Flavell was full of praise for the 2017 squad.
“Individually as players and as people this group just make me proud to be part of them and to coach them.

“They’ve been such an easy group to coach and I think it showed in the way we played our games. We weren’t always on top of it but we certainly stuck together and at the end of it I think we were a complete team and on any given night we really rated our chances, but obviously Saints were too good.”

The Sharks’ players and management now disperse with many facing a busy few months.

Derone Raukawa, James Hunter and Luke Aston are now in China with the New Zealand Select Team as part of its invitational tour under national coach Paul Henare.

Alex Pledger and Reuben Te Rangi are both in line for national Tall Blacks duty with
the FIBA Asia Cup being held in Lebanon in July.

Australians Mitch Norton and Nick Kay are also in China with the All-Australian NBL selection for it’s tour before both link with the Australian Boomers national squad for the Asia Cup.

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