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R7 Report: Persistent Perth handle Randle rampage

The Perth Wildcats withstood the Adelaide 36ers’ stirring second-half comeback to claim a hard-earned 94-88 victory on Wednesday night at Titanium Security Arena. Perth played from the front for most of the evening before dynamic Sixers import Jerome Randle triggered a revival, scoring eight of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter to put his team ahead. But the visitors maintained their composure under pressure to post a seventh win, conquering the 36ers in enemy territory for the second time this season and consolidating second spot on the ladder. Athletic small forward Casey Prather ran the floor well for a team-high 20 points on 9-11 shooting, while guard Jermaine Beal played more of a point guard role, with16 points and nine assists. “(Prather) was really active, and when he’s active he’s got the athleticism that’s just not here in this league,’’ Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said post-game. “It’s up to him to play at that level all the time instead of getting in that comfortable mode. If he’s comfortable he pushes uphill but if he gets in that fourth gear, look out.” Shawn Redhage came out scorching with just over 11 points in four minutes, finishing on 16 off the bench, while centre Nathan Jawai finished with 14 and five rebounds. Trailing 84-79 three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Cats didn’t bat an eyelid, outscoring the Sixers 15-4 down the stretch. The Round seven duel was a tale of two halves as an aesthetic first half saw 111 first-half points between the teams, while both clamped down to concede fewer than 40 in the second half. “Giving up 59 points in the half was ridiculous,” Adelaide coach Joey Wright said. “We talk about giving up 20 points a quarter and to try to claw back against a great team is tough, and [Perth] is a team that’s always going to work their butt off. The 32-27 first quarter was an end-to-end shootout featuring four ties and very little defence. As the temperature sizzled around the 30-degree mark outside the venue, both teams remained red-hot in the second period, racking up a collective 100 points three minutes before halftime. Perth consolidated their quarter-time lead, taking a 59-52 lead into the halftime break, paced by 14 points apiece from Redhage and Prather. The Cats found the bottom of the net on a blistering 67 per cent of their field goals, including 6-8 threes. The first half’s free-flowing nature was highlighted by a combined 29 assists dished out by both sides. After allowing the Cats to stretch the margin to nine, the 36ers mounted a classic fightback, taking their first lead since the first quarter when Randle’s free throw completed a four-point play. Perth got back in front briefly, but Randle’s eight points in the period gave Adelaide a 76-75 lead heading into the final quarter. The Sixers had their opportunities to extend the margin but a defiant Cats side fought back and stole the home team’s thunder, keeping the home side to just two field goals in the final 6:46. Adelaide (5-6) are at home against the Illawarra Hawks on Saturday night, while Perth (7-4) host the Cairns Taipans on Sunday. PERTH WILDCATS 94 (Prather 20, Beal 16, Redhage 16) ADELAIDE 36ERS 88 (Randle 21, Gibson 15, Walker 11)
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