The incredible athleticism and elevation of Mwai Kumwenda and Bailey Mes led the Mainland Tactix to a thrilling 58-57 win over the Central Pulse in Porirua.
With the stunning one-goal victory on Sunday afternoon, the Cantabrians moved ahead of the Pulse into outright second position in the ANZ Championship New Zealand Conference, now sitting behind leaders the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
The win highlights a milestone for the Tactix, with the team recording back-to-back wins for the first time since 2009.
Tactix shooters Kumwenda and Mes dazzled as they found plenty of room to move and shared the shooting duties. Their athleticism and elevation proved impossible for the Pulse defenders to blunt. Mes scored 31 goals for the match, with Kumwenda adding another 26.
For the Pulse, young shooter Maia Wilson was unstoppable pulling in impressive feeds from Chelsea Locke and shooting 41 goals from her 42 attempts. Wilson was well supported by goal attack Ameliaranne Wells. Wells was forced to leave the court in the third quarter to receive attention for an ankle injury after she slipped, but she returned to play out the last quarter.
Solid teamwork from Tactix midcourters Hayley Saunders, Anna Thompson and Erikana Pedersen set the platform for the unstoppable Tactix shooting combination.
Tactix held a 17-15 lead at the first break. Then sped out of the blocks in the second, pouring on defensive pressure throughout the court to lead 33-25 at half-time. Tactix led 48-39 at the last break and looked to have the match under control.
But Pulse defenders Phoenix Karaka and Katrina Grant helped build the Pulse recovery. Grant and Karaka were well supported by Pulse wing defence Claire Kersten who made an impact when she came on to replace Jacinta Messer in the last quarter.
Pulse Shooting Statistics
Maia Wilson 41/42 (98%)
Ameliaranne Wells 16/24 (67%)
Chelsea Locke 0/1 (0%)
Tactix Shooting Statistics
Mwai Kumwenda 26/32 (81%)
Bailey Mes 31/36 (86%)
Gemma Hazeldine 1/1 (100%)
MVP: Bailey Mes (Tactix)
England 6-Russia )
England defeated New Zealand 49-46 to level up the three-match Series at 1-1 heading into the deciding match on Wednesday morning.