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NZ Breakers claim NBL championship

By AAP .
24 April 2012 08:31PM EST

TWO late CJ Bruton three-pointers and a clutch block by Tom Abercrombie helped the New Zealand Breakers secure the NBL title with victory over the Perth Wildcats.

Inspired by a vocal crowd of more than 9000, Bruton hit two clutch three-pointers in the last two minutes to take the Breakers to a seven-point lead.

Then Abercrombie made a crucial block on Shawn Redhage with a minute to go, snuffing out any chance of a Wildcats comeback.

It was a suitably exciting end to one of the closest and most intense series of finals in many years, the Breakers winning the best-of-three series 2-1.

The Breakers scored eight of the first 10 points, but the game tightened up soon after.

New Zealand shooters found their range from three-point range, but the Wildcats worked several unopposed lay-ups and by quarter-time the home team was in front by just 22-21.

Despite centre Luke Nevill getting into foul trouble, the Wildcats got their noses in front in the second quarter, forward Matthew Knight outstanding with 11 points in the quarter.

The Wildcats dominated rebounds but a number of steals kept the Breakers in the game and two quick baskets to Breakers guard Cedric Jackson brought them to within two points at halftime.

The Breakers had the ascendancy in the third quarter, winning a number of turnovers and keeping Kevin Lisch quiet.

They neutralised all the Wildcats on offence bar Redhage, and would have taken more than a four point lead into the final quarter but for some missed free throws from Jackson.

Some quick baskets to Alex Pledger gave the Breakers an eight point lead shortly into the final quarter but the Perth defence tightened and three-pointers to Lisch and Cameron Tovey drew the Wildcats level with seven minutes to go.

Four points to Gary Wilkinson put the Breakers back in front and the late heroics from Bruton and Abercrombie sealed the hometown victory.
 

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 79 (G Wilkinson 23 C Bruton 16 A Pledger 13) bt PERTH WILDCATS 73 (S Redhage 18 M Knight 17 K Lisch 15) at Vector Arena.

 

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