10 Sep 2015

Breakers open pre-season with a win

12:28 pm on 10 September 2015

The champion New Zealand Breakers basketballers opened their NBL pre-season campaign with an 82-78 win over the Sydney Kings in Hamilton.

Breakers guard Reuben Te Rangi

Breakers guard Reuben Te Rangi Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With shooting guard Corey Webster absent in the United States and swingman Tom Abercrombie and centre Alex Pledger out injured, the Breakers relied on their depth with strong performances from Reuben Te Rangi and Tai Wesley.

Captain Mika Vukona once again led the way at the defensive end of the floor.

Te Rangi opened the scoring with a three-pointer, one of three he would make in the first half from four attempts in an 11-point first-half haul.

From that point the New Zealanders would not be headed through until the main break, taking an eight-point lead, with Wesley scoring nine points.

Sydney came back in the second half and the score at three-quarter time was level at 56-56.

But coach Dean Vickerman's side rode the pressure and emerged winners thanks to some cool heads from the free throw line and sharp work from Cedric Jackson at point guard.

"In patches as you would expect at this time with a week together, it was okay," Vickerman said.

"We had different rotations and different people in the line-up at various times but we kept them to 34 points in the first half and that is something we need to continue to hang our hat on throughout the season."

"Offensively we can get a lot better, without Corey different people had different responsibilities. I thought Reuben was great and Shane was solid for us, Tai Wesley and Mika were great targets and Ced broke the game open in patches."

"But it was good to get everyone minutes against what was a full squad with us having a few pieces missing at this stage of our preparation. We found last year with players sitting out in the pre-season it gave confidence to guys playing behind them, so again every minute for those guys is invaluable right now."

The teams now move to Invercargill to go head to head again in game two of the three game series on Friday night, with game three a closed doors affair on Sunday afternoon.

Breakers 82

Wesley 19, Te Rangi 18, Jackson 15, Vukona 9 pts 15 rbds

Sydney Kings 78

Childress 25, Thornton 13, Khazzouh 11

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