Piet Van Hasselt’s team cleans up in the Dirty South
The Canterbury Knights completed their Dunedin tour with a 3-0 record and captured the inaugural Knights-Nuggets Challenge Shield with a win over the Otago Nuggets on Saturday night at the Edgar Centre, 108-91.
The tour tipped off on Friday against the Andy Bay Falcons club side where the Knights countered a hot shooting start by the locals, 27-15, with a 20-0 run of their own in the first half to close the game out, 96-62. The game featured the first match-up between Canterbury brother’s Knights Captain Marty and Tom Davison, who is studying at Otago University.
The Knights momentum carried over into game two on Saturday morning against Southland Sharks Selection with a 27-15 first quarter that finished with a score-line, 99-62. Six players scored in double-figures including 52 off the bench.
In the late game on Saturday the Knights fell behind 8-0 but turned it around to lead 24-21 at the end of the first quarter. Matt Mischewski caught fire connecting on 8/12 three-pointers on his way to 30 points, and Canterbury snatched 21 offensive boards and converted them into 27 second chance points.
Overall the Knights held a +22.3 rebound advantage per game and averaged 17.3 second chance points. Six of the nine players averaged six or more rebounds per game headed by Zacc Dwan with 10.7 per contest. On offence, the scoring was spread with all players averaging at least five points per game and eight scored in double-figures in at least one game.
“I had such an awesome weekend down in Dunedin. I think it’s really important to have these games as it gives an opportunity for players who aren’t playing NBL to have a chance to compete against some top quality opposition. We hope that we can create a tradition and play for the shield each year,” said Captain Marty Davison.
“I loved the way our team played in these games and we always talk about playing for each other and the guys did this over the weekend,” said Davison.
“This weekend was a culmination of three years of the programme and in particular the last four months of training and hard work by the guys which included the Melbourne Tour in February,” said Coach Piet Van Hasselt.
“The Canterbury community would have been proud by the way the team played by making the extra pass and working incredibly hard on the offensive and defensive boards. The players are very professional in the way they prepare and train and are extremely driven to succeed for the team. We have a great support crew that make these tours so enjoyable headed by our selfless statistician/manager Sharon Erwood.”
“The trip to Dunedin was a challenge for us with some of our key players away but the new guys stepped in and played amazingly. We had a couple of bad starts but always found a way to weather the storm through playing together. We achieved our pre-game goals in most of our games which was awesome. We have improved every game and looking forward to the next games,” said forward Nick Erwood.
“Special thanks to the Southland Sharks for coming up for the games and to Basketball Otago (Justin Ludlow and Greg Brockbank) for hosting, the score bench members and referees for giving up their time as well,” said Davison.
The Knights are adding to their fixture list for the season and will take on Nelson and Otago later this year before they embark onto the HoopNation event in October in Tauranga. Meanwhile players will play for their clubs in the Canterbury Basketball Premier grade competition which is perhaps the strongest in the country. Taylor Britt, Mike Karena and Nathan Campbell (unavailable for Dunedin due to injury) will suit up for the Canterbury Rams which commences on April 14 in Invercargill against the Southland Sharks.
The Knights would like to thank the kind support from James Dean – Mortgage Specialist, Frozen Direct, The Fitz, Moia Athletic, Air Rescue Services along with partners the Canterbury Basketball Association and the Canterbury Rams.
Fri 8 Mar, 7.30pm, Edgar Centre, Dunedin
Canterbury Knights 96 Andy Bay Falcons 62
Sat 9 Mar, 12.30pm, Edgar Centre, Dunedin
Canterbury Knights 99 Southland Sharks Selection 62
Sat 9 Mar, 7.00pm, Edgar Centre, Dunedin
Canterbury Knights 108 Otago Nuggets 81
Other game: 3.30pm, Edgar Centre, Dunedin
Otago Nuggets 89 Southland Sharks Selection 83
Photo album from Otago Nuggets game – thanks to Angela Ruske from Basketball Otago for supplying the photographs used here. Article provided by Piet Van Hasselt