Words by Bevan Jones
The Adelaide 36ers recorded a 102-92 victory at Titanium Security Arena on Saturday evening thanks largely to another incredible performance by star import Jerome Randle.
After top scoring last week with 23 points against Perth, Randle was again at his brilliant best tonight scorching the Breakers with 37 points and in doing so taking Adelaide to their fourth win in a row and into second place on the NBL ladder.
Randle single handedly kept the Breakers at bay in the third quarter with a barrage of incredible shots and layups under immense pressure and in doing scoring 15 points for the term.
Coach Joey Wright responded positively in regards to whether Randle has what it take to make in the NBA. “I’ve always thought he’s had the potential and we will see what sort of opportunity he gets post season,” Wright said.
The visitors got off to a flyer in the first term thanks to some great shooting early on by Kirk Penney, Tom Abercrombie and Corey Webster and led by 28-20 at quarter time.
Just as the crowd was starting to get nervous, things turned around for the home side and it was the masterstroke of Coach Joey Wright to bring in Mitch Creek that inspired the 36ers. The skipper scored 8 points in the first half and Randle scored 12 points as the 36ers had a 29-19 second term to take the lead 49-47 at half time.
Wright was delighted by the performance of Creek who finished with 14 points for the game and he talked post game about the influence that Creek has on his young side.
“What Mitch brings to the table is something you can replicate over and over which is energy and effort. I knew he would have an impact on the game but I didn’t think he would have that sort of impact,” Wright said.
To the Breakers credit they never gave in and despite the loss, coach Paul Henare was pleased by his team’s effort to never give in against an in form Adelaide side.
“We’ve had an issue all year long with our inability to maintain consistent play. With Adelaide being a confidence team, we let them get on a run. But credit to our guys for hanging around” coach Paul Henare said post-game.
For the visitors, Kirk Penney was clearly their best player with 25 points and 5 from 9 beyond the arch and he tried his hardest to keep his team in the game, he was well assisted by fellow veteran Mika Vukona who had 16 points.
It has been an amazing turnaround for the 36ers who were on the bottom of the ladder only a few weeks ago and now sit 2nd on the ladder after 4 wins in a row. Next up for Adelaide is a trip to the Cairns Convention Centre on Sunday and the Breakers will be looking to bounce back with a home game against the Perth Wildcats on Thursday.
ADELAIDE 36ERS 102 (Randle 37, Johnson 15, Creek 14)
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 92 (Penney 25, Vukona 16, Mitchell 13)