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Despite being deemed as underdogs for their Grand Final matchup with Perry Lakes, Wanneroo Wolves captain Greg Hire said his team maintained their focus leading up to the club ending their 18 year championship drought by defeating Perry Lakes in the MSBL decider.
Hire took MVP honours with his 31 point and 28 rebound effort, as the Wolves won a back and forth contest over the Hawks with the final score finishing 88-83.
“The boys and in particular myself just tried to have a normal day, rather than sit around and get butterflies,” Hire said.
“I think the boys were more anxious that anything before the game.”
Wolves coach Ben Ettridge stated during the week that his team entered the Grand Final as underdogs, a status in which Hire said the team was not fazed by.
“We were happy with the underdog tag, I copped some heat from the Wildcats boys for that.”
“I think the main motivation came from the guys hearing that we had no experience in this kind of situation.”
Despite jumping out to as much as an 11 point lead, the Hawks fought back to only trail by one at half time, on the back of 19 points from import and MVP candidate Anthony Lee.
“Anthony Lee is an unbelievable player, he is going to get points no matter what, so we just tried to make him take difficult shots,” Hire said.
“We just needed to negate the other guys like Ben Purser, who is a stellar young talent. We were scoring well we just needed to make sure we got the stops.”
The Wolves entered the Grand Final significantly less experienced in than their opponents, with the Hawks contesting their seventh final since 2001.
“For the older guys like Doug (Gates), Damo (Damian Matacz) and Tony (Pearman), this club means a hell of a lot to them and they wanted to prove that by performing on this stage.”
“The guys believed in our process and believed in each other.”
Article by Nathan Winch at the WA Basketball Centre
Photos by Helen Theoharakis (Hoop Shots)