Perth Wildcats claim ninth NBL title
IT was a big game four with the Perth Wildcats claiming their ninth NBL title over Melbourne United in a dominant performance (97-84). United struggled to combat the defensive pressure of the Wildcats who looked to Bryce Cotton and Terrico White to do the scoreboard damage. Perth eventually ran away 15 point victors’ in front of the Melbourne crowd to secure the title, with Melbourne only managing the one win in the finals series.
White was simply unstoppable across the court, scoring 20 points for the game along with eight rebounds and three assists. Fellow teammate, Bryce Cotton impressed with his 28 points, four goal assists and timely steals to win the ball back for Perth. The Wildcats oozed composure with the likes of Nick Kay leading the way with rebounds, racking up 10 and doing the defensive things well to force United into uncharacteristic errors. Perth captain Damian Martin, was impressive once again, leading from the front, attacking the ball hard and etching himself in NBL history winning his fifth premiership. For United the likes of Casper Ware and Chris Goulding stood up with Goulding nailing some big three’s late in the third and fourth to keep Melbourne in touch but it was not enough to bring them home. Ware scored 18 points, while Josh Boone was good off the glass with seven rebounds, closely followed by DJ Kennedy with five.
Taking a look back through the finals series, Game 3 saw a similar situation with Perth asserting their dominance over Melbourne with their attacking play. It was the usual big names, that once again stood up with White nailing a whopping 31 points and Cotton ending the game with 16 points to his name. Their work across the court to shut down the attacking options for Melbourne proved to be the main difference, with United unable to find an avenue to goal. Tom Jervis worked hard in defence to register a block for Perth, while his United counterpart Alex Pledger also got a timely block but it was not enough to quell the offensive play of the Wildcats. The top-scorer for United in game three was David Barlow who slotted 13, while DJ Kennedy also top scored and racked up 10 rebounds.
Melbourne United asserted their authority on the finals series in Game 2 with a big win at home to prove they were here to play, but unfortunately it was their only win for the series. Chris Goulding and Casper Ware led the way for their side with 14 goals apiece. Guard Mitch McCarron made his presence felt with his four goal assists and 13 points. For the Wildcats, White and Cotton dominated the stats, while Kay chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Game 1 kicked off with plenty of excitement with Perth claiming the opener. Jesse Wagstaff was influential across the court with his 10 points and two rebounds, combining well with Angus Brandt who lead the way with 14 points and seven rebounds to his name. United looked to the ever-reliable Goulding to take control, which he did with his 15 points, while Ware chipped in with 19 points.