Gleeson puts Wildcats one win away from championship

PERTH Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson is one win away from his first NBL championship.

The Warrnambool export will tonight lead the Wildcats into game two of their grand final series against Adelaide 36ers at Adelaide Arena.

Perth will collect its sixth league title if it can win in front of a hostile 36ers crowd.

A loss will send the series to a third and deciding game in Perth on Sunday.

Perth held off a fast-finishing Adelaide in game one on Monday night in front of 13,291 fans at Perth Arena.

The Wildcats’ offensive rebounds count proved telling in the 92-85 win.

Perth appeared to have the game in its keeping midway through the third term, having built a 16-point buffer.

But Adelaide’s persistence got it within striking range deep into the final quarter after 36ers guard Adam Gibson drained important three-pointers.

Wildcats star import James Ennis fired in the second half to finish with a game-high 30 points but it was fellow American guard Jermaine Beal who helped the home team to an 11-point half-time lead to give it momentum heading into the long break.

Gleeson said the seven-point victory highlighted the Wildcats’ hunger and commitment.

“I was pretty pleased with the resilience our guys showed out there to get the win,” Gleeson said after the game.

“We probably got a bit stagnant in the first half with our ball movement but we have to keep that ball movement and attacking the rim. 

“James was sensational attacking the rim tonight. 

“When he is aggressive like that he is hard to guard,” Gleeson said.

Game two is live on ONE HD tonight from 7.30pm.

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