Tight games were the order of the night on Wednesday as the Mid Canterbury Men’s A-Grade competition heats up.
In the first game of the night, the Ashburton College A side squared off against Farmers Corner, who took the win 88-79.
The first quarter was offensively good for the College team as they converted their scoring opportunities, but let their defence slip slightly and could only take a 23-18 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a tough one for College, dropping their game at both ends of the court, allowing Farmers to score easily and allowed them to take a 44-36 lead into the half.
College started the third quarter well as Sam Pearce got on a scoring roll, hitting 11 points in the quarter.
However just as they clawed their way back, Farmers Corner finished the better, maintaining a 65-59 lead.
The fourth quarter was again a good one early for College as they edged closer, but Farmers Corner replied in the form of Xavier Bartlett who dropped three crucial 3-pointers to again pull away from the College boys.
Even with Mitch Ruffell putting in his own 10-point quarter effort including two 3-pointers, they were unable to close the gap with Farmers Corner running out deserved winners 88-79.
The second game of the night saw Newlands and Nomads take to the court.
Again a depleted Newlands lineup took the court against a Nomads team that started off well.
Despite Newlands being bolstered by the height of Jason Greig, Nomads held a narrow 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter found Newlands finding gaps in Nomads man-to-man defence by taking their time on offence and moving well off the screens.
Newlands in turn upped their defensive work to end up in front at the half 38-29.
With the third quarter came a mix of mini-runs by both teams as Nomads drew close only for Newlands to extend it back again.
Nomads got close but Newlands closed out the quarter leading 57-48.
The fourth quarter was exciting as Nomads made a strong run at Newlands as they got to within three points.
However, Newlands were able to absorb the pressure and were clinical on their offence hitting the necessary baskets to keep the lead.
Nomads found themselves in foul trouble, handing Newlands four points from the free-throw line to give them some breathing space, allowing them to hold on to win 78-68.
For Newlands, Marc Juntilla was again excellent as he was dangerous on the drive and from 3 point range scoring 27 points with five 3-pointers.
Greig also proved a point of difference, scoring 17 points and dominating the rebounds.
As a Nomads player mentioned, “he just makes you change your shot as soon as you see the big hand coming at you”.
For Nomads, Mikal Johnson was excellent from 3-point range, hitting 26 points, six from beyond the arc which kept Nomads close.
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