Tasmania triumphs over Adelaide to seal undefeated Blitz

ON the penultimate day of National Basketball League (NBL) action, the Tasmania JackJumpers downed the Adelaide 36ers to the tune of four points to finish the tournament unbeaten.

The JackJumpers switched up their roster over the off-season, retooling things to make another tilt at a maiden NBL championship, and all signs have been positive to date. Tassie did not drop a game in the Blitz, emerging as one of the contenders for the upcoming season and displaying a winning style of basketball. On the other hand, it was Adelaide’s best performance of the pre-season tournament, but was not enough to get the team on the board, remaining winless from three games.

After struggling to get any offensive flow in their first two games, the 36ers overcame the absence of some key imports, along with Jason Cadee, to get off to a flying start. Adelaide poured in 25 points in the first quarter alone, taking far better care of the ball than previous outings, and making the most of its scoring opportunities to take a nine-point lead into the first change.

The 36ers kept that trend rolling on into the second quarter, making life extremely difficult for Tasmania with some excellent close outs on the defensive end to force some seriously tough shots. By the time halftime rolled around, Adelaide’s lead had stretched out to 11, completely turning things around from the team’s previous two games.

As has been the case throughout their entire tenue in the NBL, the JackJumpers fought back and clawed their way into the contest. A powerful offensive showing in the third term saw Tasmania drop 33 points on the back of some impressive work from returning star Milton Doyle, and remarkably, the JackJumpers took a three-point lead into the final change.

Although it was still a solid performance from Adelaide in the final term, not allowing the contest to turn into another blowout, the 36ers simply could not get the stops and clutch buckets down the stretch to pull off the win, as the JackJumpers held on for an 86-82 win.

Doyle stepped up with a performance that echoed his debut campaign in the NBL, producing 19 points, five rebounds and seven assists to play a crucial role in Tasmania’s comeback win as the JackJumpers once again had a plethora of contributors. For the 36ers, Tohi Smith-Milner top scored with 21 points, Mitch McCarron was terrific with 16 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, while Next Star Trentyn Flowers looked much steadier after moving to a wing position.

Despite the win, the JackJumpers did not emerge as winners of the Blitz, as Adelaide’s improved performance saw Tasmania bested by Melbourne United on this front based on points differential.

The second match of Thursday saw the Perth Wildcats produce a comeback win over the New Zealand Breakers in a clash between two sides that appear likely to be amongst the contenders once again.

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