6 Sep 2009

Breakers storm into 'Top End' basketball final

6:21 am on 6 September 2009

The New Zealand Breakers continued to show promising pre-season form at the Darwin 'Top End' basketball tournament with their second win from two matches taking them into tonight's final against the Wollongong Hawks.

The Breakers followed up their opening-day victory over the Adelaide 36ers with an equally convincing 102-91 success over the Townsville Crocs in the late game on Friday night.

Playing with just eight fit players and still trying to fit new import Awvee Storey into the team's systems, the Breakers have demonstrated why pundits rate them early title favourites for the new Australian NBL season which starts later this month.

The Auckland-based club had five players in double figures as they hit back from a two-point halftime deficit (49-51) to take control with a 28-18 third quarter.

Last season's league MVP Kirk Penney again led the way with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while fellow Tall Black Thomas Abercrombie had 18 points and Rick Rickert and Corey Webster chipped in with 16 each.

Rickert, who has taken a pay-cut to return to the club, again impressed and showed what a valuable contributor he can be, adding six boards and four steals in a busy performance.

Webster's solid shooting night (5/9 FG, 4/7 3Pt) also showed that the youngster is ready to step up and contribute more than the garbage time he was required for last year.

The only worry for Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis would have been a poor offensive display from Storey who made just one of seven field goals and contributed four points and three boards in 17 minutes.

The Breakers are playing without CJ Bruton, Alex Pledger, Jeremiah Trueman and Oscar Forman who are all absent for various reasons.