The Perth Wildcats have lost to the Adelaide 36ers 90-96 in their opening match of the NBL Blitz Pre-Season Tournament in Victoria.
The match took place in Traralgon and was the first of three pre-season matches for the Wildcats as a part of the NBL Blitz.
It was a close and physical contest throughout, with the match being tied halfway through the last quarter, and both teams combining for a total of 57 fouls.
The Wildcats brought last year’s Championship Series MVP Bryce Cotton into the team after he sat out last weekend’s matches, while imports Derek Cooke Jr. and newly acquired wildcat Jean-Pierre Tokoto remained on the sideline.
Angus Brandt did not travel with the Wildcats to Victoria as he battles through Achilles soreness.
The starting five for the Wildcats included Cotton, Greg Hire, Matt Knight, Lucas Walker, and Captain Damien Martin.
Both Knight and Cotton weren’t able to finish the game with Cotton suffering an upper leg injury and Knight jarring his thumb.
Lucas Walker led the Wildcats in both scoring and assists with 17 points and 7 assists in an impressive performance.
Clint Steidl continued his good pre-season form with 15 points off the bench, while Wildcats development player Rhys Vague led the team in rebounding with 8 to go along with his 4 points.
Greg Hire was second in scoring only to Walker shooting fifty percent from the field scoring 16 points.
Despite the loss and injuries Hire was looking at the positives.
“To have a number of players out gives other guys an opportunity to step up and you can’t replicate that on a training court,” he said.
“It gives a guy like Waxy [Walker] a chance – while he is playing centre and undersized in size and weight he is an absolute beast with his tenacity and energy.”
The Wildcats take on old rivals the NZ Breakers at 5.30pm WA time tomorrow night in Traralgon, and on Sunday the team drive to Melbourne to face Melbourne United at the State Basketball Centre.