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Balanced Saints have no trouble with Sharks

The Wellington Saints have regrouped from their first loss of the National Basketball League (NBL) with a rout on the road.

The Saints, coming off a loss to the Otago Nuggets, built a 14-point lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 100-75 victory over the winless Southland Sharks at Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland on Monday night.

Tall Blacks and Saints forward Hyrum Harris was on a triple-double watch, scoring a team-high 21 points (10/16 FG) to go with seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks.

National teammate Izayah Le'afa finished with 20 points (6/12 FG, 4/9 3pt, 4/4 FT), five assists and five steals, Ben Ayre had 17 points (5/9 FG, 5/8 3pt) and five assists, Lat Mayen 15 points (5/9 FG, 2/5 3pt) and Malik Benlevi 10 points (4/5 FG).

In contrast, the Sharks were a one-man band as American forward LaGerald Vick had a game-high 32 points (12/21 FG, 4/7 3pt, 4/4 FT) and four steals.

Marcale Lotts contributed nine points and six rebounds, Scott Telfer nine points and Callum McRae eight points and six board for the Sharks, who committed 23 turnovers, which led directly to 30 points for the Saints.

Hyrum Harris Wellington Saints NBL basketball
Saints' Hyrum Harris finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. PHOTO: NBL

The Saints never trailed in the game, and quickly built a 14-point lead in the first quarter as Le'afa, Ayre and Mayen all hit threes.

They maintained that up until the first break but the Sharks hit back early in the second, with balanced scoring during a 14-3 run cutting the lead to three.

It was all Saints from there, with a 16-2 stretch, culminating in Benlevi and Mayen triples, giving them a 17-point lead early in the third period and 14 straight points early in the fourth turning the game into a blowout.

In Week 4, the Saints (3-1) return to the Capital to face the Taranaki Airs (2-1) on Sunday (tip-off 6.30pm), while the Sharks (0-4) will look to end their four-game losing streak at the Auckland Tuatara (3-2) on Friday (tip-off 7.30pm).

Wellington Saints 100 (Hyrum Harris 21, Izayah Le'afa 20, Ben Ayre 17, Lat Mayen 15, Malik Benlevi 10) Southland Sharks 75 (LaGerald Vick 32). 1Q: 28-14, HT: 46-32, 3Q: 77-60


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