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Wildcats fall short of grand final berth after loss to Tasmania

13 Mar
2 mins read
Perth Wildcats’ gallant NBL24 campaign is over after a tough loss to Tasmania in Wednesday night’s semi-final decider at RAC Arena.

The Wildcats, who clawed their way back from a 2-5 start to qualify for play-offs, went down 100-84 in game three.

Four-time NBL MVP Bryce Cotton fought hard with a team-high 21 points, including 15 in the first half, to jump to sixth in the Wildcats’ all-time finals points list.

Hyrum Harris was hot early on the way to 13 points, while captain Jesse Wagstaff (eight points and three rebounds) had an impact at both ends of the floor.

Tai Webster provided an early team-lifting act, desperately diving on a loose ball which resulted in some Kristian Doolittle free throws.

Fellow New Zealander Harris was also prominent early, hitting a couple of important buckets before Cotton brought the house down with a long-range three.

Wagstaff, Alex Sarr, Jordan Usher and veteran sharpshooter Corey Webster all got some court time last in the opening term.

Wagstaff changed the momentum with back-to-back layups after some excellent work at the other end of the floor from Corey Webster.

Trailing 21-19 at quarter-time, Cotton snatched the lead back for Perth with five points in less than a minute including another big triple.

Cotton was up to a game-high 15 by the main break, but it was the visitors up 52-43 with game two heroes Milton Doyle and Jack McVeigh causing plenty of headaches with 14 points apiece.

Doyle’s hot form continued to push Tasmania’s lead up to double digits before Doolittle’s trademark jumper followed by a Cotton reverse layup eased the pressure.

Hyrum Harris then scrapped his way to some second-chance points before as flurry of buckets at the other end.

Sarr followed up a crucial layup with a desperate defensive act to earn himself two shots.

But there was still plenty of work to do with one quarter to play and a 13-point deficit.

The Wildcats had a few good moments in the final term but Tasmania had all the answers on the way to their second grand final series in three seasons.


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