Airs bounce back to fly high over Jets

A DOMINANT first half performance from Taranaki Mountainairs has seen them produce a 21-point victory over Manawatu Jets, bouncing back from their earlier loss to Auckland Tuatara. The Airs raced away to a 13-point lead at quarter time and blew it out to 20 by the main break. Though the Jets put up a fight in the third term, the Airs finished strong and came away with the impressive victory.

MANAWATU JETS 10 | 11 | 20 | 16 (57)
TARANAKI AIRS 23 | 18 | 15 | 22 (78)

Taranaki Mountainairs’ Tai Wynyard was fast to start from the opening tip-off, scoring the opening two baskets to race to a 4-0 lead. The Jets were able to draw level a few minutes later – via a triple from Klein Salmon at the three and a half minute mark – but that was as close as it got. Wynyard, Elijah Puna and Scott Telfer piled on 12 consecutive points to open up a large lead. The Jets managed to cut it back to eight points with 90 seconds left, but a couple of late baskets to Wynyard and Richie Rodger for a 13-point buffer at the first break.

The second term was a tale of two halves, with the Jets actually able to get the deficit back to nine points heading into the final five minutes, scoring 11-7 across the first five minutes. In the last five minutes of the quarter however, the Jets could not score and the Airs piled on the last 12 points to blow it out to a huge 20-point half-time margin. The home side continued to press in the third term, getting it back to 14 points with three minutes to play, but again the Airs managed to stem the momentum and ensure they headed in with a 15-point buffer at the final break.

Wynyard stepped up in the final term to be a real thorn in the Jets’ side, as the Airs took control early and ensured there would be no comeback. Stretching it back beyond 20 points with just over three minutes to play, each Jets basket was met by an Airs response. The Airs lead by 25 points with 72 seconds on the clock, but seven of the last 10 points went the way of the home team for them to reduce the final deficit to 21 in a 57-78 loss.

Taranaki shot at a high shooting clip of 47 per cent from the field compared to the Jets’ 37 per cent, whilst also nailing 14 of 19 from the charity stripe compared to the Jets’ five of 10. Controlling the rebounds (45-31) and points in the paint (44-32), the Airs were impressive in the key, and lead in all the key stats across the board. Though the Jets were fairly even in most of them, and shot at a high 56 to 54 per cent from inside the arc, they were never really able to get back into the game after that slow start.

Wynyard was a star with 25 points and nine rebounds, pairing well with Rodger (nine points, for assists and three rebounds). The Airs had plenty of contributors across the court, with Haize Walker (eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Rodger (nine points, four assists and three rebounds) also impressive. For the Jets, Nathaniel Salmon had eight points, four rebounds and two assists, with brother Klein having 10 points, four steals and two rebounds. Jake Collis picked up a team-high 12 points off the bench, as well as three rebounds. Pafe Momoisea (seven rebounds, six assists) was also able to contribute despite the loss.

Taranaki Airs take on Hawke’s Bay Hawks on Thursday, whilst Manawatu Jets lock horns with Southland Sharks on Sunday.

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