Article by George Berry
Adding star power to the bench in last Saturday’s match against the Southland proved to be the deciding factor in the Rams’ big win over the side who they had lost to twice already this season. The Rams handed the Sharks their third straight loss and locked themselves into the final four tournament in Tauranga coming up next month.
Looking ahead, this Saturday the Taranaki Mountainairs will descend into Christchurch in what is the Rams second to last home game this season. With a playoff spot locked in for the Rams, this game gives them the opportunity to move up the ladder. Like the Rams, the Mountainairs also picked up a win over the weekend, ending their ten game losing streak and giving them a massive confidence boost ahead of this weekend.
The Rams attacked the boards with ferocity last Saturday, four of the eight players who took to the court grabbed 5 or more rebounds. Marques Whippy produced an unusual statistic line, scoring just 3 points, but pulling down 11 rebounds, 7 of those being on the offensive end. Whippy’s strength will be of huge benefit to the Rams this Saturday as he creates opportunities for fast break and second chance points, both of which the Rams outscored the Sharks in on Saturday.
4 games into his return, Mckenzie Moore has found his groove he left on the floor last season. He’s been awarded Player of the Week for the second week running, showing that his presence on the hardwood floors is like no other. Coming off a 25 point double-double, Moore has an endless amount of energy he brings to the floor, cutting past defenders in seconds and creating opportunities for his team-mates to score. Marcel Jones and Jeremy Kendle may be coming off the bench again this Saturday, and if they do, Coach Mark Dickel will be putting a lot of trust in their abilities to keep the team’s offense flowing for the full game’s duration.
The Rams’ bench production was through the roof on Saturday, outscoring the Sharks’ second unit 33 points to 19. The Mountainairs’ bench will be having to step up if they are to match the international caliber bench the Rams has.
Alonzo Burton top-scored for the Mountainairs on the weekend as he has been consistently all season, he tallied 27 points. Burton had a lot of help from other team-mates in this game, and a well-polished performance from each member of their side will be pivotal if they are to have a chance in sniffing out a win from under the noses of the Rams players at their home venue.
Tip-off is scheduled to commence at 7 pm this Saturday, the 3rd of June. Prior to that the Canterbury Wildcats are taking on Taranaki, hoping to create an electric atmosphere at Cowles Stadium for the game that follows.