The Perth Wildcats have put in a dominant performance to open their 2017 Finals campaign, dismantling the Cairns Taipans with a 91-69 win in Game One of their Semi-Finals series.
The road scalp was the perfect start to the best-of-three battle, with the two sides now heading to Perth in what has become an opportunity for the Wildcats to progress to the Grand Final.
Bryce Cotton was outstanding. The American’s 34 points is the best output by a Wildcat in a final since Shawn Redhage dropped 35 in 2008.
He also had a team-high five assists and three steals.
“We just wanted to make sure we came out, play hard for 40 minutes,” said Bryce Cotton.
“I approach every game the same way. We all have our roles. All we want to do is play like that. No more no less, give it all you’ve got, and the result looks after itself.”
Casey Prather was also outstanding with 22, while Matt Knight’s 14 points and six rebounds were very important.
The Wildcats started well, putting together their equal highest scoring first quarter of the season and holding a 10-point lead at the first break.
After a slow start to the second quarter, Bryce Cotton took over and by halftime he had amassed 21 points.
The lead grew to 20 in the third quarter, before a 0-13 Taipans run left the door ajar.
But the Wildcats defence was too much for the Taipans down the stretch, as the visitors blew out the favoured side.
“We executed the game plan well. We knew we had to be a tight unit coming here. We were aggressive and rebounded well,” said coach Trevor Gleeson.
“Last time we thought we didn’t rebound as well as we could have, and we were also moving the ball well, east to west, we had Bryce on the move and Casey being aggressive.
“That’s what we want to do.”
Game Two of the series is on Monday night at Perth Arena.
Cairns Taipans 69 (Travis trice 15, Mark Worthington 14)