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 encountered a hot shooting start by the locals and found themselves 27-15. Then a 20-0 run of their own in the first half closed out the game out, 96-62. The game featured the first match-up between Canterbury siblings, Knights Captain Marty Davison, and brother Tom Davison who is studying at Otago University.
The Knights momentum carried over into game two on Saturday morning against a Southland Sharks selection, eventually seeing the Canterbury side winning 99-62. Six players scored in double-figures including 52 off the bench.
“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 Captain, Marty Davison.
Coach Piet Van Hasselt added that the weekend was a culmination of three year’s work and in particular the last four months of training, which included a Melbourne Tour in February.
In the late game on Saturday, the Knights fell behind early 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 plus 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 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 ongoing support from James Dean – Mortgage Specialist, Frozen Direct Christchurch, The Fitz Sports Bar, Robbie’s Riccarton Sports Bar & Restaurant, Moia Athletic, Air Rescue Services and our partners Canterbury Basketball Association and Canterbury Rams.