Gleeson guides Wildcats to final

WARRNAMBOOL export Trevor Gleeson will coach for a maiden NBL championship after guiding Perth Wildcats to the grand final series.

The Wildcats disposed of Wollongong Hawks on the road in game two of their best of three semi-final series yesterday.

The 80-61 win backed up their 91-79 game one victory at Perth Arena on Friday night and eliminated the need for a third and deciding game.

Perth will play either Adelaide 36ers or Melbourne Tigers for the championship.

The 36ers and Tigers will meet in a deciding semi-final game in Adelaide tomorrow night.

Gleeson is in his first season in charge of the Wildcats after a year out of the game.

The former Townsville Crocs and Melbourne Tigers coach led the Wildcats to a 21-7 regular season win/loss record.

Power forward Shawn Redhage was instrumental for the Wildcats in the first half yesterday, dropping 26 points, to help sew up their grand final spot.

Wollongong pounced on Perth’s sluggish start on Friday night, building a seven-point lead to shock the 10,000-strong home crowd early in the first term.

But the Wildcats slowly turned the momentum and took a one-point buffer into the first change after Damian Martin hit a three-point buzzer-beater.

Perth took control in the second quarter on the back of Tom Jervis’ strong play under the basket and had an 11-point break at the main change.

Star Wildcats guard James Ennis, who had a quiet first half, sprang to life after the main break and played a vital role as the two teams went head-to-head.

The Hawks, with American guard Rotnei Clarke instrumental, clawed to within three points late in the fourth quarter.

Perth steadied and pulled away, with an Ennis long-bomb  three-pointer sparking a 9-0 run. 

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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