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Wildcats get past Breakers to score crucial NBL win

Chris Pike

The Perth Wildcats marked their return home on Tuesday night with a blistering finish to overrun the New Zealand Breakers for a crucial 93-90 victory.

The Wildcats were back at RAC Arena for the first time since December 12 and were needing a win to break back into the top six but it was never going to be easy against the second placed Breakers.

Despite the 'Cats having struggled rebounding for much of the season and with the Breakers having a strong front court anchored by Dererk Pardon and Jarrell Brantley, it was the work of Perth pair TaShawn Thomas and Brady Manek that proved instrumental in the eventual win.

It still didn’t come easily though. The Breakers took charge of the contest with a 20-8 run late in the third quarter and then were still leading by four with four minutes to go in the contest.

However, from there the Wildcats scored the next nine points of the game topped off with a Bryce Cotton floater and Luke Travers dunk in transition off a steal in the backcourt.

That saw the 'Cats secure the eventual three-point win to improve to an 11-10 record on the season and shoot back up to fifth position on the table as a result.

The 15 offensive rebounds and 23 second chance points was crucial in the eventual Perth win with TaShawn Thomas finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds on 9/11 shooting.

Frontcourt partner Brady Manek also had 15 points and nine rebounds with Corey Webster finishing with 19 points, four boards and three assists, Bryce Cotton 14 points, four boards and three assists, Tai Webster 11 points and two assists, and Luke Travers 11 points and six rebounds.

Wildcats coach John Rillie was delighted with the important win in front of 11,668 home fans.

"We just stayed aggressive with our defensive coverages," Rillie said.

"We created one particular turnover that I felt got us a little momentum and the crowd was unbelievable with the way they stuck with us tonight. But it was our guys.

"Corey Webster getting on the ground and those little things that we've been talking about and try to highlight coming to fruition is the kind of plays and style that excites me. We hung with it and man, what a great emotional win for us and onto the next one."

The Wildcats remain at home to play the Adelaide 36ers in another critical match up on Saturday night.

IMAGE: Getty Images


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