NBL Showdown: Canterbury Rams, Taranaki Mountainairs advance to semi-finals

The Canterbury Rams and Taranaki Mountainairs are through to the semi-finals of the NBL Showdown after commanding wins at the Trusts Arena in Auckland on Wednesday night. 

Led by a team-high 21-point game from teenagers Thomas Webley, the Rams beat the Auckland Huskies 98-84, while 31 points from Marcel Jones helped the Mountainairs to a 99-90 victory over the Franklin Bulls. 

The Rams will now face the Otago Nuggets in the semi-finals, while the Mountainairs square off against the Manawatū Jets, both games taking place on Thursday night.

Canterbury needed a second half fightback to beat the Huskies as they trailed 42-36 at halftime.

But a 39-point third quarter from the Rams turned the game on its head with Webley scoring 14 of his points in the period, which saw Canterbury lead 75-62 heading in the fourth quarter. 

The Huskies closed the game to six points with two minutes remaining, but Canterbury managed to close out the game to secure victory. 

Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa was the Huskies' best player, scoring a game-high 39 points. 

Taranaki guard Derone Raukawa.
Taranaki guard Derone Raukawa. Photo credit: Photosport

For the Mountainairs, they were rarely troubled as they led the majority of the game thanks to strong performances from Jones and Derone Raukawa.

Along with his 31 points, Jones added 10 rebounds and 7 assists, while Raukawa had 28 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

The Mountainairs led 48-45 at the halftime break, but a 9-0 run from the Bulls saw them take the lead, only for Taranaki edge back in front and lead for the remainder of the game.

Forward Dominique Kelman-Poto top scored for the Bulls with 31-points. 

Canterbury Rams 98 (Thomas Webley 21, Taylor Britt 16, Sam Smith 16), Auckland Huskies 84 (Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa 39, Leon Henry 18, Tohi Smith-Milner 16).

Taranaki Mountainairs 99 (Marcel Jones 31, Derone Raukawa 28, Tau Wynyard 11) Franklin Bulls 90 (Dominique Kelman-Poto 31, Isaac Davidson 24, Jackson Stubbins 12).