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JackJumpers Celebrate Debut with OT Win Over Bullets

It took until overtime but the wait was 25 years in the making as the Tasmania JackJumpers marked their NBL debut with a hard earned opening night 83-74 victory against the Brisbane Bullets.

It was a packed out redeveloped MyState Bank Arena in Hobart as not only did the JackJumpers play their first ever NBL game as basketball returned to Tasmania with a team for the first time since 1996, but it was the first match up of the #NBL22 season as well.

The game didn’t fail to produce plenty of drama either and after Nathan Sobey was able to shoot the Bullets level to force the game into overtime, the JackJumpers fed off the energy of their home fans to secure the eventual 83-74 with Jack McVeigh's triple sealing the deal.

For the first time in 9,198 days, dating back to a 1996 meeting between the Hobart Devils and South East Melbourne Magic, a Tasmanian team played an official match in the NBL. 

The league’s newest franchise, and 44th in NBL history, weren’t overawed by the occasion. Sam McDaniel, the son of former Hobart Devil Wayne, fittingly, scored the first points in JackJumpers history when he sank a mid-range jumper. 

But it was Josh Magette who impressed early and often for Tasmania. He played every second of the first quarter, which included eight points and five assists on his way to 19 points and eight assists for the match. 

Lamar Patterson didn't quite have the opening to the season he hoped and his two missed free throws with the match on the line and just 14 seconds left in regulation will give him a restless sleep

Magette stood up most when it mattered for the JackJumpers. In the fourth quarter, he made a go-ahead jumper to wrestle back the lead at (62-61) and then a long-range three to extend it to four seconds later (65-61). With a minute left, it was a one-point game (67-66). 

Nathan Sobey wouldn’t let the Bullets concede, though, and he had 16 first-half points on his way to 24 and six rebounds for the night. Trailing by three points and with seconds left in regulation, it was Sobey who shot truly from beyond the arc to send it into overtime. 

He had an eventful night too. Some choice words to the referee and a second technical foul ensured he watched the last two minutes from the locker room, which opened the door for the JackJumpers. 

To the delight of over 4700 fans, the JackJumpers took this one 83-74. 

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth implored his team to play an energetic brand of defence. They caught the Bullets unawares, particularly in the first quarter. 

When it seemed like the Bullets were going to get on top, Roth urged his team to keep fighting. Alongside Magette, it was Phoenix-born Josh Adams who also starred in overtime, and can be tremendously proud of his 20-point game. 

JackJumpers’ marquee recruit Will Magnay was one of three former Bullets on this Tasmania team, alongside Matt Kenyon and Jarred Bairstow. He finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. 

Roth was a proud man afterwards having won his NBL coaching debut.

"Momentum goes back and forth in sport and in the end we were able to grind it out. I'm excited for these next 27 games, but I'm hoping they're not going to be all like this," Roth said.

"We're trying to build something special here. It takes a lot of hard work. We're trying to build a fan base from the north to the south. Our guys are gritty and feisty. We are very competitive and tough minded and we just found a way to win. 

"To me, the foundation is defence and accountability. For me, at the end of the day it is about the process. Doing the work, doing the review and falling in love with the details of the game. This was obviously a first for us. 

"Overtime and that experience, it is all worth unpacking and going through. I hope the state of Tasmania is proud of these guys."

Robert Franks showed plenty of ability to notch up 19 points for Brisbane too. The one-time Orlando Magic player also pulled in nine rebounds, and was the only Bullets player besides Sobey with over eight points at the end of regulation. 

Canadian-born James Duncan was leading the Brisbane Bullets for the first time as head coach, and will have more memorable nights than this, especially as his untimely tech foul in the third quarter gave the JackJumpers some valuable momentum. 

Duncan will use the whole experience of the first game as a learning experience moving forward.

"I think we got rattled. We turned the ball over 19 times. That would have made a difference if we cut that in half," Duncan said.

"We were able to fight back into the game and make significant plays, especially in the second half. But we couldn't get over the final hump. Particularly in overtime." 

In the end, this was all about the JackJumpers and Tasmanian basketball. The fans at MyState Bank Arena have much more to look forward to.

It's the only game for both teams in the opening round with the JackJumpers back at home next Thursday to open Round 2 against the Adelaide 36ers while the Bullets have until Sunday when they face the Wildcats in Perth.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 1

TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 83 (Adams 20, Magette 19, Magnay 10)

BRISBANE BULLETS 74 (Sobey 24, Franks 19, Patterson 10) 

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