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Wildcats catch fire to beat Hawks on NYE

Chris Pike

The Perth Wildcats exploded for their highest score of the NBL season to close 2022 on a high with an impressive 107-97 road win against the Illawarra Hawks on New Year's Eve.

The Wildcats put up 61 points in the first half on Saturday at WIN Entertainment Centre. Then after the Hawks tied scores up again early in the fourth quarter after being 17 points down, the 'Cats took over the contest.

Perth went on to score 12 points in-a-row to break the game open to end up winning by 10 points on the back of scoring 107 points while shooting 53 per cent from the field and hitting 12/28 from downtown at 42 per cent.

The 'Cats again did well getting the foul line and this time shot 23/30 to end up winning by 10 points to improve to a 10-8 record on the season to close 2022.

It was the highest score the Wildcats have put up in #NBL23 with Corey Webster top-scoring with 25 points to go with five rebounds and three assists on 5/6 three-point shooting.

Bryce Cotton had another 24 points and six assists, Brady Manek 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and TaShawn Thomas continued his season-best form with 18 points and five boards.

Luke Travers had 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists as well before succumbing to an ankle injury in the third quarter.

The Hawks again fought valiantly with Tyler Harvey delivering 28 points including 6/14 shooting from beyond the arc. Fellow co-captain Sam Froling added 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Wildcats coach John Rillie saw a lot to like from his team's performance.

"We played a good first 20 minutes, then Illawarra got on a good roll in the third quarter but it was good to see how we responded," Rillie said.

"You can see we've got some players who relish that moment and different guys just stood up at different times. For me it was really pleasing to weather the storm and we got the stops, and then we executed very well on offence."

The first game of 2023 for the Wildcats will see them remain on the road to play the New Zealand Breakers in New Plymouth on Wednesday.

IMAGE: Getty Images


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