Late-game run lets Breeze blow by Gold Rush

It was a scrap and the Otago Gold Rush scrapped valiantly.

But ultimately it was not clinical enough to win its National Basketball League opener.

A late-game run sealed a 58-47 win for the Harbour Breeze in Auckland last night.

The Gold Rush trailed just 46-44 late in the fourth quarter.

But the class of the Tall Fern-laden Breeze won out.

It shut down the Gold Rush and scored a handful of key baskets to close out the game.

The Gold Rush brought plenty of energy and its zone proved effective on defence.

Offensively, it created plenty of good looks — it just did not finish enough of them, ending the game at 22% from the field.

Its forward line provided the bulk of its scoring.

Zoe Richards led the way with 12 points, while Lisa Wallbutton chipped in with 10 points to go with 13 rebounds and Savanna Handevidt added nine points.

Te Araroa Sopoaga impressed on debut too, the guard's aggression key in finishing with eight points and seven assists.

Rust was evident early, but defence kept the Gold Rush in touch.

From there, it began to push in transition and bring aggression offensively.

The Gold Rush began drawing fouls and found its way to the line to get its scoring going.

When a Zoe Richards post move gave it an 8-7 lead after eight minutes, a mini run followed.

Tara Clement got to the hoop, and the line, several times while Lisa Wallbutton chipped in with two baskets to take a 15-12 lead at quarter-time.

But that halted very quickly.

The Gold Rush managed just one point in the first seven minutes of the second quarter.

It continued to push in transition and create an abundance of good looks — it just could not finish them.

Defensively, it remained strong though, ensuring it trailed just 20-16 when a Richards jump shot finally ended the dry patch.

Harbour took a 24-21 lead to halftime, before the Gold Rush rediscovered its scoring touch.

Richards scored twice inside, while throwing the pass leading to Hayley Gray's transition lay-up.

That gave it a 29-26 lead.

However, Richards picked up two quick fouls and went to the bench.

The Breeze raised its intensity, crashing the offensive glass and defending aggressively.

It took the lead back, but the Gold Rush continued to stick around and trailed 39-36 at the final break.

That tightness continued through the final quarter and the Gold Rush restored a two-point deficit at 46-44 on a second three-point play from Handevidt.

But it was Harbour that executed down the stretch.

A Brooke Blair lay-up followed by a Tini three-pointer took it to 53-45 and that was too much for the Gold Rush to come back from.

The Gold Rush will get another chance against the Waikato Wizards at 7.30pm tonight.

Add a Comment


Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter