Auckland Pirates celebrated the NBL title tonight. They held off the former champions Wellington Saints to clinch the Gold. Alex Pledger (213-C-87, college: Belm.Abbey) delivered 20 points and 9 rebounds to lead the winners. He was awarded Most Valuable Player after the game. The Pirates opened the game aggressively. They dominated offensively scoring 28 points and posting a 7-point lead ten minutes into the clash. But the Saints reacted equally. They erased the deficit in the second quarter. Jason Crowe and Ernest Scott (201-F-82, agency: VVG Sports, college: Valdosta St.) helped the Saints to a 48:46 halftime lead. Auckland used an 8:0 run late in the third term to make it 71:64 with ten minutes to go. The Saints got within three points late in the final frame but the Pirates went deadly from the stripe and sealed the victory at the end. Ronald Dorsey (197-F/G-83, college: McNeese St.) accounted for 18 points, while Ismail Muhammad (198-F-83, college: Georgia Tech) contributed 16 points for the winners. Ernest Scott led all scorers with 28 points for the Saints. Casey Frank (203-F-77, college: N.Arizona) notched 19 points and 7 rebounds in the losing case.
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