The SIT Zerofees Sharks have held off the Taylor Hawks 89-86.
Nick Kay had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and Alex Pledger grabbed 17 rebounds for the Sharks who move to 12-6.
It was always going to be a tough game for the Sharks who had already secured second spot, but the home side were able to hold firm in the latter stages of the contest.
Jarrod Kenny proved to be a tough cover for the Sharks tallying 25 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. The Tall Black point guard hit 4/7 from three and played a key role in bringing the Hawks back into the game after they trailed by 10 in the third quarter.
The visitors were down for the majority of the game, but took an 83-82 lead thanks to a put back layup from Joshua Fox. Sharks replied with a Luke Aston mid-range jumper, but a driving layup from Kenny gave the Hawks a 86-85 lead with under a minute remaining.
Sharks point guard Mitch Norton would drive in for the layup, and then after a Amir Williams turnover, Kay would force his way into the paint for the two-pointer, putting the Sharks up three with 24 seconds remaining.
After a Hawks timeout, the Sharks would foul them multiple times to whittle the shot clock down. Kenny would bounce the ball off the back Norton on the inbound, and tried to shoot the three which was heavily contested by his opposition. The three point attempt would fall short.
The Sharks bench stood out tonight, which could prove pivotal in the back to back games in the Final Four, they outscored the Hawks bench 36-9.
Despite the loss, and a three way-tie with Taranaki and Nelson, the Hawks finish the season fifth place with a 4-13 record. After a disruptive year which saw Ben Hill replace Kirsten Daly midway through the season, the Hawks improved markedly from their 0-18 season the previous year.
The Sharks will now move their attention to the semi-final in five days’ time when they play the James Blond Supercity Rangers. Expect the match up to be different from the regular season when all three games between the two were blowout victories, the Sharks winning two of the three.
Sunday, June 11
At ILT Stadium, Invercargill
SIT Zerofees Sharks 89 (Nick Kay 17, Reuben Te Rangi 14, James Hunter 11, Reuben Te Rangi 11)
Taylor Hawks 86 (Jarrod Kenny 25, Everard Bartlett 17, Amir Williams 14)