Red­backs bite back into grand fi­nal

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

THE Perth Red­backs are through to the Men’s SBL Grand Fi­nal.

It will be their first grand fi­nal since 1999, hav­ing de­feated the mi­nor premier Wil­let­ton Tigers in game 2 of the semi-fi­nals at Bel­mont Oasis on Fri­day night.

Wil­let­ton came out an in­spired out­fit, open­ing a 15-2 lead after the first 3½ min­utes, with eight of those points by Jay Bowie.

But Perth did well to re­duce the deficit to eight points by the end of the first quar­ter and then it was time for Lee Roberts to take over in the second quar­ter.

He scored 15 points in less than six min­utes of the quar­ter and then when Ben Smith and Kyle Bowen knocked down triples, the Red­backs were in front for the first time in the game.

With the Red­backs’ strength in­side from Lee Roberts, Michael Vigor, Shawn Red­hage and even Bowen, and with Nel­son com­ing up huge showing why he has a fu­ture at the next level, the home team got the job done.

The Red­backs beat the Tigers 101-92 to book a spot in next Satur­day night’s grand fi­nal at Ben­dat Bas­ket­ball Centre.

They’ll take on the Joon­dalup City Wolves, who beat the Ger­ald­ton Buc­ca­neers.

Red­backs coach Nik Lack­ovic was there in 1997 as a player for his club’s last cham­pi­onship tri­umph and he couldn’t help but be blown away by the hap­pi­ness seen at a jam-packed Bel­mont Oasis on Fri­day night.

“We were play­ing a ridicu­lously tough, tal­ented well-pre­pared team and then to see ev­ery­body here and see what it meant to ev­ery­one from our life mem­bers, pre­vi­ous play­ers and coaches, the fam­i­lies and sup­port­ers makes you happy to know you can put a smile on their faces,” Lack­ovic said.

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