NBL 2021: Perth Wildcats mark Trevor Gleeson’s milestone match with big win over South East Melbourne Phoenix | Ralph Lauren

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Perth Wildcats have guaranteed coach Trevor Gleeson will celebrate his night of milestones in style by thrashing South East Melbourne 106-75 at the State Basketball Centre in Victoria tonight.

Gleeson set a new mark for the most wins by a coach in Wildcats history on the same night that he broke the club record for coaching the most matches. Alan Black previously held both records.

The five-time championship coach showed his talents by overhauling the game plan and getting a response from his players after demanding more support for superstar Bryce Cotton.

Perth set up the win in the first half when they charged to a 21-point lead, but they achieved that with their leading scorer contributing just seven of their 48 points.

At that point, Todd Blanchfield led the team with 10 points and nine of the Wildcats who had spent time on court had scored.

Blanchfield said his effort exemplified what the team was looking for.

Bryce Cotton didn’t need to dominate tonight as the Wildcats blew the Phoenix away.
Camera IconBryce Cotton didn’t need to dominate tonight as the Wildcats blew the Phoenix away. Credit: Mike Owen/Getty Images

“I haven’t shot the ball like I’ve wanted to for the last few weeks,” Blanchfield said.

“I’ve been working extremely hard at it and knew it was going to turn around eventually.

“With an unusual pre-season, it takes time to build those relationships on the floor at the offensive end and defensive end. We’re starting to build those relationships.”

The Wildcats dominated the rebounding and strangled South East Melbourne defensively. The high scoring Phoenix managed just 27 points in the first half.

Cotton started the second half strongly and helped Perth to break clear to a 28-point lead and while the Phoenix reduced that to 20 points during the quarter, couldn’t get the deficit to a realistic figure.

John Mooney produced another double-double for the Wildcats with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Blanchfield finished with 22 points, including four three-pointers, and five assist while Jesse Wagstaff scored 12 points. Cotton had 15 points, four rebounds and seven assists playing a sacrificial role.

“This is a great collective effort tonight,” Cotton said.

“We have confidence in all of our guys. We know the work that we put in, night in and night out and I’m just glad we were able to get back on a winning note.”

Mitch Creek was superb for the Phoenix with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Adnam had a game-high 24 points including 17 in the second half, while Ben Moore managed 18.

The clubs will clash again at the same venue on Sunday.

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