News Article

Wildcats, JackJumpers semi-final series squared at 1-1

11 Mar
3 mins read

Written By

Jordan McArdle

We’re going to a decider at RAC Arena on Wednesday night after Perth lost an arm-wrestle to Tasmania in Hobart on Monday.

The Wildcats led for the first two-and-a-half quarters before the JackJumpers made their move to take the ascendancy on the way to a 102-94 victory to square the semi-final series at 1-1.

Four-time MVP Bryce Cotton returned to form with a game-high 26 points and three steals, while big man Kristian Doolittle was also important with 20 points and nine rebounds.

Opening-game hero Keanu Pinder was used sparingly after half-time because of early foul trouble and was eventually fouled out shortly after three-quarter time in a massive blow for the Wildcats' hopes of sweeping the series.

The Wildcats were locked in on the defensive end on the way to an early 6-0 advantage.

After 0-6 from outside the arc on Friday night, Cotton hit his first triple three-and-a-half minutes in.

All of Perth’s starting five were on the scoreboard within the first six minutes of the contest on the way to a handy 29-21 quarter-time lead.

Doolittle was the first player on the court to reach double figures after his third and-one of the match early in the second term.

Tasmania went on a 13-6 run to cut the margin back to a solitary point before a much-needed settler from Tai Webster who drove to the basket and got fouled in the process.

Cotton was starting to heat up late in the half, following up his second three with an and-one to already eclipse his game-one tally of 15 to go with three steals.

Leading 52-47 at half-time, the Wildcats got the perfect start to the second half with Cotton scoring five consecutive points and following it up with a three soon after.

But the JackJumpers were chipping away at the deficit at the other end with Jack McVeigh and Milton Doyle leading the way.

All of a sudden, scores were tied at 64-apiece before Tassie took the lead for the first time in the match with three minutes left in the third.

Skipper Jesse Wagstaff stepped up when his team needed it, scoring just the Wildcats’ fourth three-pointer of the night to snatch the lead back.

Tasmania held a slender 74-73 lead at three-quarter time as John Rillie turned to championship-winning veterans Wagstaff and Corey Webster to start the last.

Both had an impact with Webster knocking down a huge step-back three, but it was the home side going on a massive run to open up a nine-point buffer.

Perth struggled to bridge the gap from then on as the series goes into a decider on Wednesday night.


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