Gleeson praises Wildcats’ fight in win over 36ers

PERTH Wildcats coach, Trevor Gleeson has praised his chargers for their determination to hang tough against a resilient Adelaide 36ers to win away on the opening night of the season. Leading by seven points at the main break after being level at quarter time, the Wildcats were challenged by the 36ers, with the deficit cut to just one point by the final break. Gleeson said his players were well aware of the challenge that confronted them, and what they needed to do.

“We knew they’d have a fightback,” he said. “Adelaide are a pretty tough combination, they weren’t just going to roll over and lose by 25. “So we knew we were going to take a hit and we thought we took a hit at the end of the third quarter. “Our composure was good to get through our structure and put some good pressure on towards the end. “We got Bryce (Cotton) some space, and we all know what he can do and he brought it home for us.”

Gleeson said there was no one-man attack with the Wildcats system, switching it up through the offence depending on the momentum and what they wanted to achieve.

“With our offence we find the guy who’s getting going,” he said. “Terrico (White) was scoring, Nick Kay was fantastic. “We had a big emphasis on getting the ball into the post early when Tommy (Jervis) scored, so just being patient and then at the end of the game we liked Bryce to have the ball because he makes great decisions. “It was more so being patient out there.”

American import, White was ultra-impressive in the victory for the Wildcats, sinking 20 points, having two assists and collecting three rebounds. Along with Cotton (22 points, five assists and three rebounds), White lead the scoring in the paint, while Kay finished with 18 points, two assists and a game-high eight rebounds.

“He (White) was a little bit disappointed with his performance in the US,” Gleeson said. “He had a really good game in Ballarat in the second game against Cairns. “He’s just getting used to our style and our system in the NBL. “He’s athletic, he’s strong and he can shoot the ball, we know what he can do, he does it at training every day so I’m glad he was able to have a good game today.”

Gleeson praised the work of his players off the bench, with the likes of Clint Steindl and Greg Hire making the most of their minutes on the court.

“He’s (Steindl) an energy guy off the bench, and the same with Greg,” Gleeson said. “Greg had some great minutes in the last quarter, we really needed some rebounding, some hussle. “Greg knew exactly what to do in that situation. “Clint had a really good first half, probably didn’t get much of a run in the second half because I was going with the other guys.”

Much had been made of the 36ers departures over the off-season, but Gleeson said the knew his side would have to bring the pressure to get the job done.

“They’ve got (Nathan) Sobey who’s a rockstar and Daniel Johnson who’s done it every year in the NBL so you’ve got two guys there with great support, they’ve recruited well, we know what Adelaide are capable of,” he said. “They’re very well coached and you have to match their intensity and I thought we did that tonight.”

The Wildcats now head back home for a three-day break to face an Illawarra Hawks side coming off a two-day break against reigning premiers, Melbourne United with those sides facing off in Woollongong tonight.

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