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Hi Jack, as 36ers steal spotlight

JACK McVeigh showed the way last night for Adelaide as another Joey Wright gamble paid off and the 36ers moved Perth closer to the NBL "red zone" with a convincing 97-84 win at Titanium Security Arena.

McVeigh compiled career bests in every meaningful statistical category, scoring 8 points, ripping 7 rebounds, dishing 3 assists and blocking a shot in 17:18 minutes of relentless energy.

In the injury-forced absence of Ramone Moore, the small forward seized his increased opportunities with both hands, showing a near full-house of faithful fans why the Sixers were so high on him and fellow rookie Harry Froling.

Froling (pictured right) also had 8 points and seven rebounds, and the duo's late first-quarter injection sparked the 36ers from a 9-17 deficit to a 23-17 lead before a Mitch Norton jumpshot ended more than a five-minute scoring drought for the Wildcats.

This was the 36ers at their best, hustling, harassing, working, creating, Perth further hampered when Nick Kay collected his third foul with 7:22 left in the second quarter.

Back-to-back spectacular dunks by Jacob Wiley - who had five slams in his 13 points - and Nathan Sobey were followed by a 3-point swish from Daniel Johnson as the Sixers ran riot.

Sobey-to-Wiley for another fast break dunk concluded a 9-0 run with a 38-27 lead and Perth coach Trevor Gleeson calling timeout to halt the avalanche.

In his first career start (and on his 23rd birthday), Rhys Vague stuck a triple, then fed an assist to Angus Brandt for 32-38 and Perth was back in the hunt.

A Bryce Cotton 3-pointer to close the first half saw the Wildcats within striking distance at 47-49 down, but it was not reflective of how the game was flowing.

Kay collecting his fourth foul with 8:26 left in the third made him virtually irrelevant as Adelaide got rolling with another Wiley slam, a Demitrius Conger fast break and a 7-0 run for a 60-49 buffer and another Gleeson timeout.

Even Wildcats captain Damian Martin, who sank a pair of corner threes but was left open to miss four others, had his problems, Brendan Teys taking him hard to the hoop for a 67-56 scoreline.

This was the 36ers running and Perth powerless to do much about it, Teys free throws inside the final three minutes to the last break taking Adelaide's lead to 71-57.

With Sobey becoming more offensively active in the final quarter, Anthony Drmic a regular threat and Conger throwing down a wicked slam dunk for Adelaide's biggest buffer at 86-70, the Wildcats were never making it back.

Terrico White fought on bravely for a game-high 24 points at 64 percent and even made local fans happy by gifting them Hungry Jacks cheeseburgers after an abortive trip to the stripe.

This version of the 36ers is a championship contender. But then we have only seen it 11 times. On 10 other occasions, it has been anything but.

The challenge now is to make the energy and enthusiasm of the Perth rout the norm for Wright's troops, ranks from within which he rarely is afraid to try new players. Hence, last night's hi-Jack.

ADELAIDE 36ERS 97 (Conger 18, Johnson 17, Wiley 13, Sobey 11; McVeigh, Froling, Sobey, Johnson 7 rebs; Sobey 9 assts) d PERTH WILDCATS 84 (White 24, Brandt 11, Vague, Cotton 10; White 5 rebs; Cotton 5 assts) at The Fortress, Titanium Security Arena.

Jan 18

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.