Nelson Giants captain Sam Dempster had a double-double to help his team past the Taranaki Mountainairs on Saturday night. Photo: Shuttersport

Giants are back, baby


Dynamic Dempster leads the way for Nelson

Sam Dempster had one of his best nights in a Mike Pero Nelson Giants singlet in Saturday night’s 107-81 win over the Taranaki Mountainairs at the Trafalgar Centre, but you wouldn’t have heard that from him.

In true ‘do as I do not as I say’ fashion, Sam let his actions do the talking, then deferred praise to his team mates after he hit 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in a win so emphatic it’s sparked a glimmer of a top four chance for the franchise which started the season 0-6.

Sam lit it up from beyond the arc, hitting five of eight three point attempts.

“My team mates put me in a good position to sink those shots,” Sam says. “Kyle [Adnam] especially worked his butt off all night, Finn [Delany] knew they were going to double-team him all night so it was my job to knock down those shots when given the opportunity.

“The thing that stood out for me was how well the ball moved all night.

“From where we started at the start of the year, it’s heaps better. It looked like everyone was having fun.”

Sam says lifting the intensity helped the team earn a full four-quarter performance.

“We’ve all sat down and said ‘we play for Nelson and that’s more than basketball, it’s about playing for the locals and playing for the jersey.’

“I feel we have the firepower to compete with anyone and we have to stick to that belief.

“Things are starting to fall into place and we are aiming to sneak into that top four, and the way that everyone is beating each other in this league anything is possible.”

Sam was one of five Giants to make double figures with Ali Granger adding 15 points off the bench.

The only concern was Kyle limping off midway through the final quarter with a leg issue.

The return of cut former Giants big man Curtis Washington, who signed with the Mountainairs days after his release, vindicated the Giants’ decision to let him go.

The American managed one point in 17 minutes of work.

The Mike Pero Nelson Giants hit the road to play the Hawke’s Bay Hawks next Saturday night before they return home to face the Super City Rangers on May 12.