5 Jul 2015

Sharks meet Saints in NBL final

5:47 am on 5 July 2015

The Southland Sharks have extended their historic winning streak to 15 and will face the defending champion Wellington Saints in the National Basketball League grand final.

Tai Wesley led the way with 24 points, Kevin Braswell scored 23 and forward Adrian Majstrovich had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Sharks as they beat the Waitakere Rangers 95-80 in their semi-final in Wellington.

The Southland Sharks forward, Tai Wesley, has signed for the New Zealand Breakers.

The Southland Sharks forward, Tai Wesley, has signed for the New Zealand Breakers. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Rangers, who were making their first ever post season appearance were still within striking distance in the fourth quarter, only trailing by seven.

But the Sharks were clinical in the final quarter, burying the Rangers chances of a come from behind win, outscoring them 27-19.

The contest was always going to be a bruising encounter, which was evidenced by the foul count, four of the five Sharks starters ended the game with four fouls, Casey Frank and Reuben Te Rangi fouling out for the Rangers.

Saints beat Nelson 97-85 in their semi-final.

Wellington were led by finals MVP Lindsay Tait who scored 29 points, shooting 10/14 from the field.

Australian Daniel Johnson collected a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Dion Prewster added 17 for Wellington who make their sixth final since 2008.

It was a courageous effort from the Giants in particular from forward Mike Vukona who was everywhere, scoring 19 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Both teams had there leading scorers McKenzie Moore and Torrey Craig off the bench, Moore struggling with a toe injury, while Craig played limited minutes on his injured knee.

Nelson got to within four with under five minutes to go, but Wellington reply with a 10-2 run to hold a big enough advantage to secure a Grand-Final spot.

Southland won't feel perturbed playing in Wellington after they comprehensively beaten them there 108-76 in Round Nine, the worse loss the Saints have suffered since 2000.

The last time the two teams met in the postseason was the 2013 semi-final, the Sharks winning 81-66, eventually going on to win the title.

This is the sixth time since 2008 that the Saints have made the Grand Final and will now have a chance to win their ninth franchise title.

The final is Sunday.

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