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Rams deflate Airs for 14th straight win


The Canterbury Rams have secured a first-round bye in the National Basketball League (NBL) playoffs.


In an easier-than-expected contest against the third-placed Taranaki Airs at New Plymouth's TSB Stadium on Friday night, the league-leading and defending champion Rams eased to a 111-83 victory.


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Recent Tall Blacks forward Taki Fahrensohn top-scored with a game-high 23 points (7/13 FG, 5/10 3pt, 4/5 FT) and three steals in 22 minutes, as the Rams bench players put up 48 points in the 28-point blowout.


Kiwi point guard Taylor Britt stuffed the stat-sheet with 18 points (5/9 FG, 2/2 3pt, 6/6 FT), five boards, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks, while young guard Kaia Isaac, promoted to the starting-five, had 17 points (7/16 FG, 2/6 3pt), eight rebounds and three assists.


Australian centre Lachlan Olbrich recorded a big double-double, with 14 points (6/19 FG) and 16 rebounds, while three other homegrown talents - Max Darling, Walter Brown and Aidan Tonge - also scored 10-plus points.


The Airs had just three players in double-digits, led by American forward Elijah Minnie, with 22 points (7/17 FG, 3/9 3pt, 5/5 FT), six boards and three blocks. Australian Sam Froling put up 21 points (6/17 FG, 9/10 FT), 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks, and Carlin Davison 15 points (4/9 FG, 6/7 FT) and five boards.


Taylor Britt Canterbury Rams NBL basketball
Taylor Britt scored 18 points and dropped 11 assists for the Canterbury Rams. PHOTO: NBL

The Rams never trailed in the game as Britt hit a three on their first possession and they built an 18-point lead in the first period after a 21-6 run.


A dominant second quarter ended the game as a contest, with the Rams up 61-33 at halftime. Canterbury hit six triples as they went on a 12-0 run and scored the last nine points.


With the first basket of the third period, the lead grew to 30 points, before Taranaki hit back with back-to-back threes and a three-point play. However, 17 points was as close as they got, late in the third, before the Rams unloaded the bench in the fourth.


The Rams (15-2) will look to move a step closer to securing the regular season title when they face the Manawatu Jets (1-15) in Palmerston North on Sunday (tip-off 3pm), while the Airs (13-5) returns to the court next Sunday (tip-off 3pm) against the Auckland Tuatara (14-3).


Canterbury Rams 111 (Taki Fahrensohn 23, Taylor Britt 18, Kaia Isaac 17, Lachlan Olbrich 14, Max Darling 11, Walter Brown 10, Aidan Tonge 10) Taranaki Airs 83 (Elijah Minnie 22, Sam Froling 21, Carlin Davison 15). 1Q: 30-18, HT: 61-33, 3Q: 78-60

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