The Tasmania JackJumpers have produced the most complete performance of their short NBL history, snapping a four-game losing streak with an 84-75 victory over the New Zealand Breakers.
Import guard Josh Adams (20 points) was aggressive and influential, while skipper Clint Steindl (14 points) provided perimeter punch off the bench as the expansion franchise overcame a brief fourth-quarter wobble to keep the winless Breakers at bay at MyState Bank Arena in Hobart.
Only sixth man Jeremiah Martin (24 points, eight assists) and big Yanni Wetzell (20 points) made an impression for the Breakers, who were chasing forlornly for most of the afternoon and left their run far too late.
“We feel extremely good about it,” said JackJumpers coach Scott Roth, relieved after his charges bounced back nicely from last Wednesday’s fourth-quarter meltdown against Sydney.
“We feel like we’ve had one, two games that have gotten away from us … we’re 15 new guys, everyone learning how to win and find their way in this process.
“These guys showed a lot of grit and determination to come back.”
Behind Steindl’s hot hand, the JackJumpers sprinted to a 25-16 quarter-time lead, which they extended to 50-39 at halftime thanks to their aggression and efficiency on offence.
NZ coach Dan Shamir changed things up with Martin displacing rusty new Breakers import Chesson Randle to start the second half and duly rifling 12 third-quarter points to trim Tasmania’s advantage to four points.
But a ragged lapse either side of three-quarter-time from the visitors saw the JackJumpers rattle off a 17-2 run and move ahead 77-58.
Wetzell prospered in the paint to spearhead a late NZ rally, reducing the deficit to seven points.
But time ran out for the Breakers and with an 0-6 record their season is already on the brink.
“It felt like any time we made a mini-run, we would have a mental lapse or make a couple of mistakes,” Shamir said.
“We all need to do better … everybody.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher with every loss.
“We cannot run away, we cannot hide, there’s nobody else who can do the work but us.”