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Wellington Saints pull away from Whai

The Wellington Saints have won for the sixth time in their last seven games in the National Basketball League (NBL).

The Saints overcame the Tauranga Whai in the third quarter and held on for a 100-94 win at Wellington’s TSB Arena on Wednesday night.


The Saints improved to 13-6 with the win, likely securing a top-four finish in the regular season, while the loss all but killed off the Whai’s chances of reaching the NBL Playoffs.

Australian guard Ben Ayre led the Saints with 21 points (7/18 FG, 7/9 FT) and nine assists, while Hyrum Harris returned from a knee injury to post 19 points (6/10 FG, 2/2 3pt, 5/8 FT), six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Import shooting guard Terry Henderson Jr finished with 17 points (6/12 FG, 2/5 3pt, 3/4 FT), six boards, four assists and five steals, while former Tall Black Taane Samuel contributed 15 points (7/10 FG).

American big Phil Carr went off for a game-high 23 points (7/15 FG, 3/10 3pt, 6/6 FT), seven rebounds and three steals, supported by Kiwi forward Denhym Brooke, with 21 points (7/14 FG, 5/11 3pt), eight boards and two steals.

Terry Henderson Jr Wellington Saints basketball
Terry Henderson Jr had 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals for the Saints. PHOTO: NBL

After the Whai put together a 10-2 run, including threes from Carr, Bezzant and Brooke, to lead by seven at the 6:06 mark in the third quarter, the Saints countered with a 22-10 burst to go ahead by five going into the fourth.

Still just a one-point game with 7:42 remaining, Wellington took command with three straight baskets, then back-to-back threes from Harris and Rangimarie Dougall-Mita put the Saints up 10 with under three minutes to play.

Earlier, in a first half featuring seven lead changes and eight ties, the Saints led by as many as six points in the second period before Tauranga erased the deficit in less than a minute.

The Saints (13-6) complete their regular season next Sunday (tip-off 3pm) at home against the Southland Sharks (3-14), while the Whai (7-12) host the Manawatū Jets (1-16) on Tuesday (tip-off 7.30pm) in Tauranga.

Wellington Saints 100 (Ben Ayre 21, Hyrum Harris 19, Terry Henderson Jr 17, Taane Samuel 15, Tohi Smith-Milner 11) Tauranga Whai 94 (Phil Carr 23, Denhym Brooke 21, Demarcus Holland 16, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 14, Jayden Bezzant 10). 1Q: 22-19, HT: 42-46, 3Q: 72-69


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