Back-to-back baby!! What a game! What a team! And what a way to farewell Cats legend Shawn Redhage!
The Perth Wildcats claimed the 2017 NBL Championship title after defeating the Illawarra Hawks in Game Three at Perth Arena. Ten weeks ago the Wildcats were on the bottom of the ladder, three weeks ago they needed to win two games just to qualify for the finals. They have shown once again why they are the most successful sporting franchise in the world, claiming the clubs eighth Championship trophy.
Wildcats import Bryce Cotton has been an absolute hero since his arrival, and no doubt helped to propel the Wildcats to the finals. He scored an incredible 45 points (an NBL Grand Final record and a Perth Arena record) in Game Three and was deservingly named the MVP of the finals series. Cotton only joined the Wildcats midway through the season and was a noticeable confidence booster for the Cats, who had a fairly average first half of the season. Cotton’s 45 points were scored off just 17 shots, making him the first player in NBL history to score that many points off so few goal attempts!
Check out the game highlights below:
Retiring Wildcats veteran Shawn Redhage played his final NBL game, and he got the farewell he deserved – a chance to lift a Championship trophy one last time. (Not going to lie, I got a little bit emotional!) Shawn has been a pillar of strength and experience for the club and he will be greatly missed. This is the fourth Championship for Redhage, who was named in the starting five, replacing injured Matty Knight. Damian Martin and 250-gamer Jesse Wagstaff also claimed their fourth Championship win.
Hear what Shawn Redhage had to say after his final game:
— NBL (@NBL) March 5, 2017
The Wildcats had a great start to Game Three and held the momentum for the majority of the game. Illawarra never gave up though, and stayed competitive throughout. Rotnie Clarke was impressive for the Hawks, finishing with 30 points. Marvelle Harris bravely took the court despite receiving the tragic news of his ill fathers passing on Saturday. Perth Arena held a minute silence before the game to pay respect and express sympathies to Marvelle and his family.
Despite the bumpy start to the Wildcats season, they managed to overcome the hurdles, and fought against all odds for this Championship- probably making it the sweetest one yet! This is the third Wildcats Championship I have been lucky enough to witness at Perth Arena amongst the #RedArmy, and I hope to experience many more in the future!
Congratulations to the back-to-back, 2017 NBL Champions – The Perth Wildcats!!
Show your support for the Wildcats at @PerthWildcats #RedArmy