Red­backs sting Tigers to lead semi-fi­nals

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT - Chris Pike

THE Perth Red­backs took on mi­nor pre­miers Wil­let­ton Tigers at Wil­let­ton Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium in their semi-fi­nal se­ries and claimed an im­pres­sive win.

The Tigers started on fire, but the Red­backs worked back on top and in the end pre­vailed for the 85-81 vic­tory.

Game 2 will now take place on Fri­day night at Bel­mont Oa­sis, with Wil­let­ton need­ing to win to force game 3 back at home on Satur­day night.

The Red­backs came into the game with­out emerg­ing star and NBL prospect Mar­shall Nel­son due to a calf com­plaint, and then Shawn Red­hage copped two tough calls early on.

The Tigers com­pounded that for the Red­backs by scor­ing the open­ing seven points.

Nic Cody soon joined Red­hage in early foul trou­ble and Perth was able to work its way back into the con­test with 13 of the next 16 points to take the lead on the back of a Michael Vigor bas­ket be­fore Red­hage’s sec­ond foul.

Zac Gat­torna made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in the place of Red­hage, and then Jack Wag­ner made a solid con­tri­bu­tion in the ab­sence of Nel­son to help the Red­backs to an im­pres­sive 28-18 quar­ter-time lead.

Michael Vigor had also been in foul trou­ble for the Red­backs

But the com­bi­na­tion of him, Red­hage and Lee Roberts was pay­ing div­i­dends to start the third quar­ter, as the lead for the vis­i­tors grew to as much as 16 points.

Wil­let­ton was never go­ing to lie down with­out mak­ing a run and it was al­ways des­tined to go down to the wire, and in the end foul­ing played a sig­nif­i­cant part.

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