14 Oct 2017

Last gasp win for Breakers

5:51 am on 14 October 2017

A last-gasp basket from American import DJ Newbill has given the Breakers a 87-85 victory over Sydney in their Australian NBL basketball clash in Auckland.

DJ Newbill.

DJ Newbill. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With the scores tied at 85-85 and just three seconds on the clock, Newbill's lay-up was enough for the Breakers to steal their first win of the season.

The 25-year-old guard played a pivotal role for the three-time NBL champions, his 22 points bettered only by Kirk Penney's 25 and augmented by seven rebounds.

Penney, hit with a stomach virus for the Breakers' opening 82-71 loss to Cairns, was back to his long-range best in nailing six of nine from the three-point line.

The Kings started brightly to lead 29-26 at quarter-time, but could only manage 12 points in the second spell as the Breakers led 54-41 at halftime.

The Breakers still looked in control with a 69-63 lead at three-quarter time, but the Kings stormed back to level late in the final spell.

Perry Ellis topped Sydney's shooting stats with 19 points, while Kevin Lisch, Travis Leslie and Todd Blanchfield each contributed 15.

It was a more disciplined effort from the Breakers, with a vastly improved effort from the free-throw line in converting 23 from 32.

They also cut back the turnovers to nine after conceding 17 against the Taipans.

The Breakers will face the Kings again on Thursday in Auckland.

Head Coach Paul Henare was pleased with the improvements in his side from last week and spoke of an emotional roller coaster of a final quarter.

"I am quite an emotional guy and get involved in this sport, but in terms of trying to get the guys on the same page at both ends, covering our assignments - Sydney are a good team, they can score and put pressure on us at the end. But I am proud of my guys, we needed a play at the end to get the win but to have the composure, I am really proud of them to come away with that one.

"We took care of the ball, to have 9 turnovers is a massive work on for us, getting the production from our bench - I didn't lay a challenge down but I spoke to them about how important they are to our group, to see that positive play from them was good to see.

"If we can be multi-dimensional we are a tough team to scout, I think we can have guys on any given night that can score, like Kirk and DJ put points on the board, Tommy and Sosa have shown what they can do and across the board we had different guys step up at different times. That gives confidence to anyone that steps on the floor that they have the right when they are feeling it, and obviously Kirk was feeling it tonight."

Penney shrugged off questions about his 'new' role off the bench.

"You are on the court you play ball and compete, it is just playing, if you are starting or off the bench you just do what you do. For me I am just trying to play the best basketball I can. Pauli and I have spoken about it, we have a great lineup and great starting five and some real good guys coming off the bench."