Tuffin goes scoreless as Hawke’s Bay locks down Wellington

JR Isaga
Tuffin goes scoreless as Hawke’s Bay locks down Wellington

TOUGH LOSS. The Wellington Saints slip to third in the standings.


Fil-Kiwi stalwart Ken Tuffin winds up scoreless for the first time this season as Wellington absorbs its second loss in the New Zealand NBL

The Hawke’s Bay Hawks protected home turf in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NBL) as they clamped down the mighty Wellington Saints, 88-82, at the Pettigrew Green Arena on Friday, June 18.

With the win, Hawke’s Bay legitimized its place in the standings with an 8-3 record, good for second. Meanwhile, the Saints fell to 8-2 for the season and are momentarily at third place due to the league’s points system.

Devondrick Walker led five Hawks in double-digit scoring with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 4-of-7 from three while Hyrum Harris added 18 markers and a game-high 7 rebounds.

Off an unusual 67-74 deficit near the start of the fourth quarter, the Saints finally showed off their feared second half offensive spurts as they mounted a 15-5 run capped by a Taane Samuel triple with 2:24 left to go up four, 82-78.

But in response to Wellington’s offensive might, the Hawks ultimately sealed the deal with their defensive prowess, and forced three late Saints turnovers en route to a 10-0 swing for the 88-82 lead with four seconds left.

Only five Wellington players got on the scoreboard in this game, all in double figures.

Tohi Smith-Milner led the way in the tough loss with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists while Leon Henry accounted for all the Saints’ bench points with 17 markers.

Former La Salle big man Samuel added 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown while Fil-Kiwi stalwart Ken Tuffin was held scoreless for the first time this season, albeit with 5 rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes as a starter.

The Saints can quickly bounce back despite the loss as they are set to face the cellar-dwelling Taranaki Mountainairs, Tuffin’s old team, in the second game of a back-to-back set on Saturday, June 19. –