The New Zealand Breakers basketballers began the defence of their ANBL title with a convincing 100-87 victory over the Gold Coast Blaze in their season-opener in Queensland Friday night.
The Breakers outscored the home side 32-20 in the final stanza to start their championship defence in style.
Thomas Abercrombie led the way for the Breakers with 25 points, while Boomers star Mark Worthington bagged a game-high 28 points for the Blaze.
Worthington used all of his international experience to keep the Blaze in the game early on, scoring six unanswered points - including a spectacular coast-to-coast effort off his own rebound - to guide his team back from an eight-point deficit in the second quarter.
Journeyman Stephen Hoare exploded into life for Gold Coast in the third quarter, draining a buzzer-beating triple, pulling down a crucial rebound and completing a three-point play as the Blaze claimed a five-point lead.
The home team's tenacity died away in the last quarter though, as Breakers veteran CJ Bruton awoke from a three-quarter slumber to pile on the pain in the final term, quickly turning two points into 11 as well as providing the game-breaking passes.