From Murray McKinnon
The Breakers and Perth Wildcats rivalry lived up to its expectations with the Breakers having the upper hand throughout the game running out an eight point winner 88-80.
Corey Webster shone in the first quarter with a couple of threes, the second from deep on the court to give the Breakers an 18-12 lead. Tom Abercrombe dominated the second period and a basket from outside the arch brought the score up to 33-19. Nathan Jawai then went on a scoring run for Perth pulling in eight points and joined by Matthew Knight made it an eight point game at the break. The third quarter was all Charles Jackson starting with a successful free throw a steal and a further seven points, while Perth had a clutch of three pointers, to hold the Breakers to the eight point buffer into the final ten minutes.
Everard Bartlett started the final period with a three pointer and Webster responded with two more to maintain the advantage. Shawn Redhage tipped in the final bucket for the Wildcats right on the final buzzer.
Breakers coach Dean Vickerman said since their devastating loss to Melbourne last week the Perth clash was upper most on their minds during training.
“It’s a game we talked about a lot, the effort levels the physicality, the ability to box out and win loose balls and we did a solid job it was better than the Melbourne game in that area,” said Vickerman.
“There was a period where they still came up with a number of offensive boards and some long ones but we were able to match it at the other end with our own offensive rebound as well which is a pleasing aspect.”
Vickerman said there was one passage when Perth really came back.
“I’m not sure what happened in that play where they scored and we turned it over they made a three, there was a foul, it was the craziest position to allow a team to have a chance to come back. But we made some great close out shots and Corey was big down the stretch.”
The spark from Charles Jackson particularly pleased Vickerman.
“The great energy from Charles in the third quarter was a huge impact on the game there was just that one little period that we had great hand pressure and came up with a lot of deflections and it led to some baskets and we got that margin. They changed their defence at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth and it took us a little bit to adjust to it and Corey made some tough plays for us to keep us ahead. It was pleasing with the way that we ended up closing out the game.”
While Vickerman was quick to praise Charles Jackson, Perth coach Trevor Gleeson didn’t want to go there when asked if Charles Jackson added a different dynamic to the Breakers game.
“That’s a good question for Dean, I’m worried about our players I don’t talk about other players it’s hard enough to coach my team than coach the other team,” said Gleeson.
However Cedric Jackson didn’t hesitate when asked about his namesake’s contribution to the team.
“He has settled in well, when we first got together we had to get to know each other’s game and there were a few times when we weren’t on the same page so getting together during practice, doing game time situations in different plays keeping his eye on me because there could be a time when his defender, takes his eye off him just when I do that bounce past to Tai Wynyard so it’s things like that that he’s learned a lot of ways just to keep his eye on me and as soon as he scores what-ever happens his confidence grows and he surprised everyone by his hand pressure and taking a full court against their guard and getting a foul and knocking it into free throws down. He’s a real energetic guy too, it was good to see him out there but at times telling him that there’s still a lot of game left so make sure to stay focussed a little bit,” said Cedric.
Vickerman added that Charles had a lot of fun.
“That’s something he brings to this team, he just enjoys the moment, lives in it and that’s really good for our team right now just having that youthful guy that’s having a lot of fun out there and that’s the way you want to see people playing basketball.
“There’s a little bit of Gary Wilkinson in him as well, just the way he gets into and celebrates a play.”
Charles and Alex Pledger did a solid job containing big Nathan Jawai.
“We need to look at turnovers and we turned it over ten times and that’s a solid effort that gives you a good opportunity to win basketball games, if you win the rebounding and you take care of the basketball and our focus is to get better,” said Vickerman.
Cedric restricted to just eight points but had 11 assists, three defensive rebounds, three turnovers and four steals.
“Cedric’s role is to keep getting those boys touches and then milk the one that’s hot for a while and again I thought he did a great job of that tonight.
“Makes my job easy we had to give credit to our base two for setting the screens and getting us guys open so you make the shot a little bit easier. If those guys are rolling it makes my job a little more simpler. We executed a great play down the stretch when Corey got the wide open three and we got a good screen on Reuben so it was a good team effort getting those guys hot,” said Vickerman.
Abercrombe’s contribution to the game should not be overshadowed by the Jackson duo. Playing his 201st game, he was felled by Jawai in the second quarter but after cleaning up an elbow abrasion returned to complete a perfect 38 minutes which included a double double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Webster was the top scorer with 28 and Charles Jackson ended up with 15.
Vickerman said that Abercrombie has grown as a team leader.
“I know a little bit more on him as a leader, when others are out he’s taken on that responsibility and he’s doing a really good job with the ‘x’s’ and ‘o’s’ detail as a leader as well.
Ced and Mika really drive our energy and our effort at different times and Tommy is more our composed leader and part of that being a leader right now is his body is really healthy which is something he hasn’t had for a while. When he’s in a really good place about his body he’s thrown it out there at the moment, getting a good balance with going to the rim and shooting the three ball.”
Cedric said that Abercrombie is a great defender.
“He just has that x factor, you can see it in his eyes and he kind of has this drive that always encourages us to keep it going and that really works for us; he is one of the key guys we like to ride on his shoulders. It’s not just points, he’s playing great on defence and he’s helping us a lot defending other people making block shots, deflections. His maturity has exceeded ten times this last year,” said Jackson.
“The rebounding part is something he’s into recently, he’s in the top ten in the league at the moment and climbing. We’ve given him a little bit more licence to go after offensive rebounds,” added Vickerman.
Vickerman said that any win against Perth is a really good win.
“We’ve been good at home and we’re ready to win on the road.”
Perth won their home game against the Breakers last month 83-80.
”It doesn’t matter where the Breakers are or the Wildcats are on the ladder it’s always a good contest and it will remain that way for a long time I think,” said Gleeson.
He felt that the Wildcats lost the game right from the opening quarter.
“We just didn’t bring the energy that was required. The Breakers got three or four offensive rebounds early in the game which was disappointing. We fought back strongly to make it a three point game at 74-71, but we were sloppy and the score probably flattered us.
“We did a pretty poor job defending those two guys (Corey Webster and Tom Abercrombie) in the wings. They put a bit of pressure on us and they were rebounding well and every time we had a run we couldn’t sustain it.
“Even at the start of the third we came out sloppy, turnovers and Charles Jackson got a couple of dunks and a foul line. You can’t be sloppy against a good team and expect to win.
“I liked our tenacity to fight back, we could have easily nailed it in but we missed so many lay-ups.
Jarrod Kenny summed it up as a lack of urgency.
“We just didn’t have it from the start and at the start of the third we weren’t urgent enough.”
Prather Casey top scored for the Wildcats with 15, Jawai was on 14 and Knight 11.
Mika Vukona returned to the court after recovery from a hamstring injury.
“He was on restricted minutes,” said Vickerman.
“I played him a few more minutes than his restriction was supposed to be. We couldn’t hold him out of this one, it was one he was determined to play, he got through every practice during the week. He did everything he could to prove to the medical staff that he could play. They said he wasn’t 100 percent and to restrict his minutes and I was really pleased with what he gave us tonight.”
And Tai Wesley should also be back in action soon after recovering from an appendix operation.
“He’s going to challenge when we allow him back, he wanted to come to the game tonight, we told him to stay home. From what understand the surgery was three keyholes, so it wasn’t a big slice, it should repair itself pretty quickly and we’ll see how it goes, they say two plus weeks and that’s about what we expect it to be,” said Vickerman.