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Gutsy Wildcats rue missed opportunity

The Perth Wildcats find themselves down 0-2 in their Grand Final series with Melbourne United, but it wasn’t without a gutsy Game Two performance at RAC Arena.

Perth added Luke Travers and Clint Steindl to their growing injury list before the game, but it was still able to take it up to the top seeds.

While Trevor Gleeson was proud of the effort, he laments the missed opportunities.

“Heart and soul, without a question. Everything you want us to do, we were giving it out on the court. We gave our all. We just have to be on point for a few things that at this level, if you’re not on point, the opposition hurt you in the Final,” he said.

“I thought we were off point on a few things in the first half, and we allowed them to get some points, so they had that separation.”

The Wildcats started well, opening up a double-digit advantage in the first quarter on the back of five triples, but saw the lead evaporate before halftime.

“I thought we probably should have gone into halftime six or seven up, to give us that little bit of a buffer. We’d made mistakes, but we were still in front. To have that buffer taken away at the half was pretty deflating and then we went through that patch where we couldn’t score.”

John Mooney top-scored with 17 points and eight rebounds for the home team, while Mitch Norton was impressive despite playing through obvious discomfort, finishing with 12 points.

“Watching Mitch, it breaks your heart. He’s a warrior, a soldier. He’s limping. I want to take him off a rest him up and he does another great move while playing obviously hurt. It’s heartbreaking to send him out there.”

With Bryce Cotton, Luke Travers and Clint Steindl all out, development player Corey Shervill had his first NBL start and didn’t look out of place, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and three assists.

The Wildcats now have till Friday to recover, when they take on Melbourne at John Cain Arena – where all remaining games of the series will be played.

Perth Wildcats 83 (Mooney 17, Blanchfield 13, Norton 12)

Melbourne United 74 (Goulding 21, Baba 15, Landale 12)

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