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 NBL Top End Challenge Pre-Season Tournament

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PostSubject: NBL Top End Challenge Pre-Season Tournament   Wed 29 Sep - 5:36

Wildcats surge past 36ers to open Top End Challenge

Reigning NBL champions the Perth Wildcats have fought back to record a nail-biting 92-90 victory over the Adelaide 36ers in the opening game of the Top End Challenge pre-season tournament in Alice Springs.

Young Perth star Stephen Weigh gathered a missed shot by teammate Kevin Lisch to make the winning basket with approximately eight seconds on the clock.

Perth's new signing Matt Knight had a game-high 22 points while Jesse Wagstaff added 17 and Lisch 15.

Brad Hill led the 36ers with 19 points, while Rhys Carter had a huge game with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Troy De Vries also chipped in with 16.

Adelaide started the better of the two teams and led for much of the game, but their 19 turnovers to Perth's 9 hurt them.

The 36ers led 32-25 at the end of the first quarter and 55-50 at the half.

Perth closed to within a single basket by the final break but Adelaide still led, 75-73.

The Wildcats took a three-point lead on a Cameron Tovey two early in the final period but Adelaide steadied to re-establish a six-point buffer midway through the term.

Perth kept the pressure up however and drew level with 1:51 to play on a Lisch two. Jacob Holmes made a pair of free-throws at the other end to put Adelaide's nose back in front but Lisch scored again to square it away once more with 46 seconds left.

An errant Hill pass was snapped up by Perth guard Damian Martin at the other end, giving the Wildcats possession and Lisch missed a two with 10 seconds remaining that Weigh recovered and put in to seal the win.

Perth Wildcats 92 (Matthew Knight 22, Jesse Wagstaff 17, Kevin Lisch 15)
Adelaide 36ers 90 (Brad Hill 19, Rhys Carter 17, Troy De Vries 16)
Alice Springs, Northern Territory
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PostSubject: Re: NBL Top End Challenge Pre-Season Tournament   Sat 2 Oct - 5:12

NBL champs burn Tigers, advance to Final

In the heavyweight clash of Friday's session at the Top End Challenge in Darwin, the defending NBL champion Perth Wildcats sent a warning to the rest of the league with a devastating 97-81 win over the Melbourne Tigers to enter tomorrow's final (Saturday) as the hottest of favourites.

After leading by just 2 with one quarter to play, the Wildcats overwhelmed the bigger Tigers in the final period with a sublime combination of speed, intelligence and outstanding offensive execution and already look to be a superior ballclub to that which captured the organisation's record fifth NBL title in 2009/10.

Perth's margin of victory meant that the Cairns Taipans became the other team to reach the final, but based on tonight's brilliant performance from the Cats, the Taipans will have an enormous mountain to climb if they are to win their first trophy of any kind in the National Basketball League.

It was the matchup of speed versus size and early on size was the winner as Wade Helliwell and Luke Nevill tried to overpower the smaller Wildcats inside, helping the Tigers to a 10-8 lead with five minutes gone in the first quarter.

But Perth struck back thanks to baskets by Stephen Weigh and Cameron Tovey, and when Shaun Redhage hit a sweet floater in the lane and Tovey banged home his second three pointer of the quarter, the Wildcats had gone on a 10-2 run to grab a 28-20 advantage late in the period.

Despite a late bucket from Matthew Burston, the Wildcats were in control at the end of the first, leading 31-23.

Melbourne again went to their fearsome power game as we got underway in the second period, with Helliwell relentless inside, and a three from TJ Campbell tied it at 31 with seven minutes remaining in the half.

However, that was just a signal for the Cats to up the intensity, and a 9-1 run had Perth back on top 40-32 with four minutes left.

Eric Devendorf was a key in the final minutes of the half for the Tigers, but Perth executed their halfcourt offence brilliantly and went to halftime leading 51-46.

The Wildcats struggled offensively coming out of the rooms, and had just a single field goal in the first three minutes of the third period as the Tigers ground their way back into the contest.

But in the space of a minute the Wildcats got back to back stops at the defensive end and started to find open guys all over the floor thanks to their superior ball movement.

A Stephen Weigh triple in the corner capped a 9-0 run and suddenly the Wildcat lead was back in double figures.

Still, Melbourne hung tough, and thanks to a dominant performance inside from giant centre Luke Nevill closed with a 10-4 run to cut the margin to a single bucket. 67-65, at the final change.

The Tigers took the lead briefly in the opening minute of the final quarter thanks to a Daryl Corletto three, but once again the defending NBL champs responeded with a frightening 13-3 burst powered by Matt Knight that saw them lead 80-71 with five minutes remaining in the game.

Melbourne looked completely helpless against a relentless Wildcats assault, and the champs kept piling on the misery with a 13-2 run that completely blew the game apart.

From there it was nothing more than a training run for Perth, who did as they pleased the rest of the way in recording the most impressive win of the tournament by far.

Five Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Matthew Knight's 22 points and 6 rebounds, while Stephen Weigh had 20 points and 9/10 shooting from the field and Jesse Wagstaff contributed 11 points and 6 rebounds for a Perth club that shot an efficient 53% from the field.

Melbourne got 18 points and 7 rebounds from Cameron Tragardh, 16 points and 10 rebounds from Luke Nevill and 10 points from Wade Helliwell, Eric Devendorf and TJ Campbell.

The final between the Perth Wildcats and Cairns Taipans will be played in Darwin Saturday night at 8pm Darwin time (6:30pm Perth Time).

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PostSubject: Re: NBL Top End Challenge Pre-Season Tournament   Sat 2 Oct - 17:55

Great win by the Cats in the Top End Challenge final. Go you good things!
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PostSubject: Re: NBL Top End Challenge Pre-Season Tournament   Sun 3 Oct - 4:19

Wildcats down Taipans, win 2010 Top End Challenge

In front of a big crowd Saturday night at Marrara Indoor Stadium in Darwin, the Perth Wildcats won the 2010 Top End Challenge Pre-Season Championship with a dominant 72-52 win over the Cairns Taipans.

Cairns came into the game as decided underdogs after going 1-1 in the preliminary rounds, and weren't able to put the lie to that status as they were overwhelmed by Perth in a first and third quarter blitzkrieg and never looked like upsetting the 2009/10 NBL Champions, who added the 2010/11 Pre-Season crown to their bulging trophy cabinet.

The Wildcats finished the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record after wins over Adelaide, Melbourne and then Cairns in the final, and there's little doubt are primed to go back to back and win an unprecedented sixth National Basketball League championship this season.

Perth coach Rob Beveridge was thrilled with the performance of his team in the game and throughout the tournament.

"I'm blessed to be coaching this group, and I thought we were just clinical tonight", he said.

"We're just trying to excel and play great basketball, and my primary concern is on the defensive end of the floor. For us to hold a team to 52 points is really impressive, and I thought the guys did a great job in all three games we played".

Things look ominous early for the Snakes as Perth unleashed their typical manic defence on their opponents right from tipoff, and the Wildcats blasted to an 11-0 lead in the opening five minutes with Cairns barely able to get a decent look at the basket.

Incredibly, the Taipans missed their first eleven field goals, such was the immense pressure the defending NBL champions were putting on them.

It took more than seven minutes for Cairns to register their first field goal - a jumper in the lane by Aaron Grabau - and to make matters worse Perth were running their offence smoothly in going out to a 16-2 advantage.

Perth coach Rob Beveridge rotated frequently in the opening quarter but everyone did their job for the Wildcats no matter who took the floor, and after one period Perth enjoyed a commanding 22-7 lead.

If they were going to make this a contest, Cairns had to respond in a hurry, and to their credit they began the second quarter in a more positive fashion, but received a body blow with three minutes gone key forward Alex Loughton was forced to the bench with three fouls.

Yet despite the loss of Loughton, the Taipans raised their game, and on the back of a 13-0 run led by Ayinde Ubaka fought back brilliantly to incredibly make it a one point game with two minutes remaining in the half.

Now it was Perth's turn to struggle as Cairns turned the screws defensively, and only a pair of late buckets from tyro Perth swingman Stephen Weigh saw the Cats head to the main break up 30-25.

Dusty Rychart had five points for the Snakes in the opening minutes of the third period, but a triple from Damian Martin still had the Wildcats in control leading 37-28 with four minutes gone.

Both teams were still playing intense defence, but Wildcats captain Shaun Redhage got hot from the perimeter and nailed a couple of long range bombs, and when Cameron Tovey swished one from downtown the Cats had gone on a 9-2 run and the lead had blown out to double figures once again.

Perth were in a feeding frenzy defensively and Cairns struggled to cope, and when Redhage had a rare four point play, the game started to get away from the Taipans.

Ubaka temporarily stopped the bleeding with a three, but Redhage knocked down his fourth three in a row, and despite the Perth captain then blowing a wide open dunk in transition, Tovey spared his blushes with another bomb, and Perth were just ten minutes away from another title leading 59-42.

Cairns tried to make a stand in the early going of the final period with the opening five points, but it was just delaying the inevitable as Tovey showed off his improved outside game with another three pointer, Jesse Wagstaff snuck inside for a tip-in and Kevin Lisch was one of two from the line to make it a 65-47 lead with six minutes left in the game.

A Lisch bomb and a Williamson three made it a 13-0 Perth run and ended the game as a contest as the Wildcats swept to another convincing victory.

Redhage had 16 point for the victors while Tovey had 11 points and 3 rebounds and Jesse Wagstaff finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds in what was a balanced Wildcats scoring attack.

Rychart tried hard for the Taipans with 10 points and 6 rebounds, while Ubaka contributed 9 points and Deba George produced 8 points for the Snakes.

Post game, Wildcat forward Matthew Knight was named Tournament Most Valuable Player.

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