The Sky Sport Breakers are headed to the NBL Grand Final for the first time since 2016.
In front of a raucous crowd of close to 7,000 at Spark Arena on Sunday the Breakers won the third and deciding semi-final series fixture 92-77. It sounds a comfortable scoreline but the Breakers were only five points ahead (77-72) with five minutes to play and the home supporters were on edge.
However, led by import Barry Brown Jr, the Breakers closed out the game with a 15-5 run -Brown scoring 11 of those points to finish with a game high 32 points.
It was a fabulous performance from the ‘NBL’s Sixth Man of the Year’ and those 32 points have only been bettered once by a Breaker in play-off basketball – Kirk Penney scored a memorable 38 points in Perth against the Wildcats back in 2011.
Brown finished on 10 from 16 shooting from the field and a perfect 10 from 10 at the free throw line. He got great support from Derek Pardon (15 points and 13 rebounds), Jarrell Brantley (14 points and 7 rebounds), Rob Loe (11 points and 8 rebounds) and Izayah Le’afa (10 points and 3 steals).
The Breakers will now enjoy a few days off before looking to win a fifth NBL championship with the best of five Grand Final series beginning in Sydney on March 3rd.
Here are the major numbers from the three semi-final games:
Game 1 at Spark Arena
Barry Browne Jr passed 400 points for the season and Will McDowell White 600 points for the Breakers in his 71stappearance.
With his 8 points Tom Abercrombie moved to 4,301 career points – the fourth highest cumulative total amongst active players in the NBL.
Game 2 in Tasmania
Izayah Le’afa scored his 300th point of the season
Game 3 at Spark Arena
The Breakers made a collective 24 from 24 free throws, a best performance in club history. The previous best 100% shooting effort was 14 from 14.
Derek Pardon posted his tenth double-double of the season. He becomes only the 8th Breaker to have posted ten or more double-doubles.
Jarrell Brantley is one point shy of 500 points for the season.
Will McDowell-White is 2 points short of 300 points this season.