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NBL 2013/14: GF Game 1 - Wildcats draw first blood
Photo Credit: NBL
Perth is a single win away from an NBL championship after a hard-fought 92-85 win over a relentless Adelaide side in game one of the NBL grand final series in Perth.
Both teams started brightly in a high-intensity first term, with the ‘Cats going on a 9-2 run to end the quarter to take a five point lead into the first break.
After making some headway early in the second to cut the margin to two, the Sixers were blown away by a 10-0 Perth run, with Jermaine Beal (19 points) nailing six quick points in the spurt.
The home side took a comfortable 51-40 lead into the main break, with Gary Ervin (8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2-8 FG) and Adam Gibson (13 points, 9 assists, 5-14 FG) failing to get going and only 14 first half points from Daniel Johnson (18 points, 8 rebounds, 6-20 FG) keeping his side in it.
Despite threatening to blow the game open in the third it was Adelaide who hung tough, keeping the margin at 12 points after three quarters and giving themselves a chance at a comeback.
With the big guns all struggling for the visitors, it was Brendan Teys (14 points, 3 assists, 6-8 FG) and Luke Schenscher (12 points, 7 rebounds) who led a final term fight back, with the margin continually eaten into.
The Wildcats repelled every charge, however, with James Ennis (30 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 14-17 FT) suddenly coming to life as the Sixers closed.
The margin got back to just four points in a frantic final minute; however Beal was clinical at the line to make sure the visitors never had the chance to get back on level terms.
Perth benefited from a 32-19 foul count, which translated to 47 free throw attempts to just 13 in what proved to be a big difference in the result. A 42-33 rebound count, again in the Wildcats favour, was just as huge given Adelaide’s reputation as a strong rebounding side.
The series now shifts to Adelaide for game two, which will be held at a sold out Adelaide Arena on Friday night.
Perth Wildcats 92 (Ennis 30, Beal 19, Redhage 13) Adelaide 36ers 85 (Johnson 18, Petrie 14, Teys 14) Attendance: - @ Perth Arena