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    Wellington suffers endgame collapse to taste 2nd loss

    Jun 18, 2021
    Wellington Saints huddle

    THE Wellington Saints suffered a late-game meltdown and fell to the Hawke's Bay Hawks, 88-82, Friday in the 2021 NZ NBL season at Pettigrew Green Arena.

    The visitors staged a furious 15-5 rally in the fourth quarter to turn the game around from a 74-67 deficit to an 82-78 advantage capped off by a Taane Samuel three with 2:24 remaining, but committed three costly turnovers that opened the door for Hawke's Bay to come back and score 10 unanswered points to end the duel.

    Devondrick Walker fired 20 points on 4-of-7 shooting from distance, none more painful than his dagger three with 17 seconds left that made it an 86-82 affair. He also had four rebounds as Hawke's Bay rose to an 8-3 record.

    Hyrum Harris added 18 points, seven boards, and four assists, while Rhys Bague got 15 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

    Derone Raukawa was also steady at the point with his 14 points, three boards, two assists, and two steals, while Ethan Rusbatch got 12 points built on a pair of triples, together with five rebounds and two dimes in the Hawks win.

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    It was a painful loss for Wellington in the game which was the rematch of the championship game back in the 2019 season, and more importantly, snapped its two-game win streak.

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    Tohi Smith-Milner paced the Saints with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, Kerwin Roach had 18 points, six boards, and five dimes, and new acquisition Leon Henry got 17 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks off the bench in the defeat.

    Samuel chimed in 14 points on 4-of-5 clip from beyond the arc, four rebounds, and two blocks, while Dion Prewster was checked anew as he only had 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field, to go with five assists and four boards.

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      Fil-Kiwi sniper Ken Tuffin missed all of his four shots from the field as he went scoreless in 20 minutes of play. He did grab five rebounds, dished out an assist, and secured a steal in the loss.

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      Wellington sunk to an 8-2 record and will now go back home to host Tuffin's old team Taranaki Mountainairs (1-9) on Saturday at TSB Bank Arena. with reports from Mark Ernest V. Villeza
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