Redbacks stun in grand final upset
MUCH-FANCIED WOLVES GIVEN UNEXPECTED THRASHING
SENTIMENTAL favourites aren’t meant to win a championship by trouncing the power side, are they?
They’re meant to fight back in a grinding tussle and steal the title in the final moments.
Apparently no one gave the Perth Redbacks the script at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night.
The success-starved side broke a 20-year championship drought by thrashing the Joondalup Wolves, the most successful team of the decade, by 33 points in a 103-70 State Basketball League grand final victory.
Joondalup briefly held a twopoint lead about 2½minutes into the first quarter, but would be left watching the Redbacks’ tails for the remainder of the encounter.
Perth increased its margin at the end of every period, hitting a game-high buffer of 36 points with just under two minutes left in the final term.
Wolves captain Seb Salinas was disappointed with the effort, saying Perth made Joondalup look second rate in their thirdstraight grand final appearance.
Perth grand final MVP Lee Roberts (28 points, 17 rebounds) gave a fitting summary of the team’s emphatic performance.
“It was fun… we found the mismatches early and took advantage of it, they couldn’t handle us on the inside,” the basketball journeyman said.
“You have nights where shots are going in and rebounds are going your way, fortunately it was one of those nights for me.
“It was a beautiful game – 100 points in 40 minutes.”
Wildcats champion Shawn Redhage (20 points, six rebounds, six assists) did little to endear himself to the Joondalup crowd, refuting referee decisions on occasion and throwing his weight around when given the opportunity for the Redbacks.
He produced a solid display, providing options inside and from mid-range, while not being at his most dominant.
The retired 393-game NBL player now holds one of the most rounded championship CVs in the country with four Wildcats rings, an Australian Basketball Association title and now this.
Perth Redbacks celebrate their grand final victory.