Hungry Jack's NBL
Sixers with Dusty Finish to Overrun Wildcats
Who says pre-season games don't mean anything, there was plenty of spite and also quality basketball with Dusty Hannahs taking over late to deliver the Adelaide 36ers a fourth straight NBL Blitz victory over the Perth Wildcats.
The old NBL rivals were doing battle for the second time at the Blitz in Tasmania but on Friday night at Launceston's Elphin Sports Centre, it appeared it would be the 'Cats getting one back over the Sixers and handing CJ Bruton the first loss of his head coaching career.
With development player Oliver Hayes-Brown imposing and Vic Law dominant, the Wildcats took charge in the first half and would lead by as much as 16 points, and that 76-60 edge came during the third quarter.
Perth still was up seven when Law knocked down a three-pointer with seven minutes remaining, but it wasn’t long until it was Dusty Hannahs' time to shine just a week out from officially making his NBL debut.
The Little Rock, Arkansas native has looked cool and composed in his first three Blitz outings, but it was time for him to become a flat out killer on Friday night in Launceston down the stretch.
It started with a driving layup to bring Adelaide back within three points before he knocked down a three-point bomb to tie scores up with fives minutes on the clock.
Hannahs then nailed another from downtown to give the Sixers the 87-86 edge and soon after his defender Kevin White got under his skin. The former Adelaide captain ruffled the feathers of Hannahs with words exchanged and both earning a tech foul.
That was White's second of the night after he was called for an unsportsmanlike earlier so there would be no more fireworks between the pair. That is at least until Friday night in Perth when the Wildcats host the 36ers to open the #NBL22 season.
It only served to fire Hannahs up further though. He hit a pretty looking mid-range pull up jumper and then after Mitch McCarron stole it off Law up one end, he ran the floor, delivered a pass between his legs backwards to a wide open Hannahs.
It was no surprise to see Hannahs drain another three ball and all of a sudden he had scored 13 straight Adelaide points, and gone on an individual 13-2 run to turn a five-point deficit into a six-point lead.
The Sixers held on from there to win by four points and remain undefeated after four games at the Blitz with one game to go on Sunday against Brisbane.
That ends Perth's Blitz campaign with two losses to Adelaide and one against the Bullets while beating the Cairns Taipans and Tasmania JackJumpers.
Hannahs ended the night with 19 points for Adelaide including going 3/6 from downtown while fellow import Todd Withers was impressive with 19 points, three rebounds and three steals while also hitting 3/6 from beyond the arc.
Daniel Johnson put up another 16 points and six rebounds with Cam Bairstow starting in the absence of Isaac Humphries and Kai Sotto, and producing 12 points, four boards and two assists.
Vic Law again impressed for Perth with 24 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals but it was development player Oliver Hayes-Brown who stole the show with 13 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
His haircut might have grabbed the attention when he first entered the floor, but his game soon did the talking as he showed his promise in 20 minutes of court time.
Another player trying to earn a spot with the Wildcats, Mitch Clarke, who has led the Perry Lakes Hawks to two NBL1 West (SBL) championships as point guard under the coaching of Matt Parsons. He impressed with nine points and three assists in 25 minutes.
Bryce Cotton added 12 points, Luke Travers 11, Kyle Zunic 10 and Majok Majok seven.
The 36ers still have another game at the Blitz to play on Sunday against the Brisbane before they head to Perth to take on the Wildcats in the #NBL22 season opener on Friday night.
HUNGRY JACK'S NBL BLITZ
ADELAIDE 36ERS 97 (Withers 19, Hannahs 19, Johnson 16)
PERTH WILDCATS 93 (Law 24, Hayes-Brown 13, Cotton 12)