Avid Perth Wildcats trainer Trevor Gleeson has commended his team for overcoming the fitness challenges of staying in quarantine for 14 days over the top of South East Melbourne charged at 88-76 to win in their opening game of the NBL season

The Wildcats were playing just hours after their quarantine ended and they sent a message to the doubters that they shouldn’t underestimate the 10-time champions

Perth was four points behind at halftime, but scored 50 points in the second half and Bryce Cotton dominated after more than 38 minutes on the field

Cotton finished with 27 points, seven assists and five steals. Import John Mooney recorded his first professional double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while another recruit, Todd Blanchfield, had 16 points

The experienced center Tom Jervis played his first game after almost two years in retirement and wowed the team with an eight-minute cameo that produced eight points and five rebounds

“We didn’t know what to expect The first quarter was good, the second quarter wasn’t that good, but our fitness is right there and our defenses and goings-on It was a good stamp for our first game

“The hardest part was the fitness level you want to be quarantined and try to get her away from home to exercise every day

“We lightened it up and played a little cricket and not basketball for a day

“That was a big problem, but I was very pleased with the way we finished the game. Bryce played for almost 39 minutes and was still producing That We Loved”

Retired captain Damian Martin unveiled the championship banner ahead of the game, but the Wildcats are a completely different team from the one that beat Sydney in March

Starters Nick Kay, Terrico White and Miles Plumlee are also no longer on the team, but Mooney’s 15 rebounds were a record for an NBL player on debut

His athleticism and energy stood out in the second phase as he resumed a missed three point attempt on the offensive rebound and dunk before calling the crowd for more noise

“John’s not that noticeable, but bouncing back and dipping your own three-point attempt is darn good,” said Gleeson

“He competes all the time and that’s why I loved him. I looked at the tape and he’s there every time he competes. He doesn’t take games. He has that mentality and it’s priceless. That was a great instigator for us ”

“We have a new group that is in a melting pot right now, trying to figure out where we’re going to end up and what we’re doing

“Todd was sensational in his first game and had a really good combination with Bryce on the court So it’s a double win that Terrico had for two years

“Now let’s get John going. They are our three main strike bowlers or strike thugs. Last year it was Bryce, Terrico and Nick This year it was Bryce, Todd and John”

Perth Wildcats

World News – AU – Wildcats win the first hours after leaving quarantine

Source: https://thewest.com.au/sport/perth-wildcats/nbl-perth-wildcats-storm-to-victory-at-rac-arena-in-opener-against-phoenix-hours-after-quarantine-ended-ng-b881777675z