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Saints face Southland Sharks in Semi 08 Jul 2013

The seedings for the Hawkes Bay Final Four have been selected and the Saints will face the Southland Sharks for the second time in eight days.

Both the Saints and Sharks have had their best regular seasons in their franchise histories, but for the Sharks it is their first semi-final.

The Wellington franchise will be playing their twentieth semi, but their first playoff game away from Wellington since 2009 when they lost on the buzzer to the Nelson Giants.

The two teams will face each other for the second time in eight days, Saints winning 104-93.

Southland had won seven straight before that loss game, but will now try to end the Saints current win streak of nine, which sounds oddly familiar to the 2011 Waikato team that won 11 in a row, before succumbing 95-86 to the Bay Hawks in the semi.

Wellington will hopefully have point guard Lindsay Tait back in the line-up, after missing their last three games due to a thumb injury. Tait won the assist title this season, which is the second time he has won the award, winning it back in 2010.

Southland Head Coach Paul Henare is into his third season as an NBL coach and first with the Sharks.

Henare will now face the Saint coach Pero Cameron for the third straight time in the post season, losing in the semi-finals last season and the Grand Final the year before. Both games were played in Wellington, so Henare who is from Hawke’s Bay may have better success.  

Forward Brian Conklin has been an extremely good import for Sharks this season finishing second in scoring and fourth in rebounding, all while shooting 59% from the field.

Conklin, Kevin Braswell and Leon Henry form a tough three man scoring punch for the Sharks, accounting for nearly 64% of the team offense.

All three players will need to fire against a Saints team that leads the league in scoring at 98.6 points, with four players averaging over 18 points.

In what may be his last season in the league as a player, forward Dillon Boucher will play in his 33rd playoff game, which started in 1996 with the Auckland Stars. 

Saturday, July 13

Saints v Sharks (Live on Sky Sport), tip off 5.30pm

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Points Table 2018

Cigna Saints 10 1 20
Nelson Giants 9 2 18
Southland Sharks 7 3 14
Hawkes Bay Hawks 6 5 12
Canterbury Rams 6 4 12
Taranaki Mountainairs 2 8 4
Supercity Rangers 1 10 2
Manawatu Jets 1 9 2

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