The Breakers are sitting on cloud nine after tonight's
record-breaking win over Wollongong, but next week they face
the one side capable of bringing them back down to earth.
With their gruelling summer schedule coming to a successful
end, the Breakers (17-3) will take their nine-game winning
streak into Friday night's encounter with Perth (13-4) - a
team that has handed the defending champions two of their
three defeats this season.
Whether the Breakers can increase their club record to 10
straight victories at Vector Arena remains to be seen - but,
for now, they can reflect on an incredible month-long
That stretch was capped with a 91-74 victory in Wollongong
tonight, as the Breakers showed few signs of fatigue from
Thursday night's win over Sydney in what was their eighth
games in 30 days.
"It's a nice achievement," assistant coach Dean Vickerman
said. "This group has ticked off a lot of firsts and they
take pride in breaking records. But the group hasn't really
thought too much about it.
"You talk to the guys and, yep, they're happy about nine in a
row, but they're just happy about the way we played."
It was the two clubs' third meeting in three weeks and by far
the most comprehensive, with the Breakers determined to
celebrate their record streak in style.
The North Shore club clinched the previous two clashed by a
combined three points, but a commanding 23-8 margin in the
fourth quarter tonight allowed the Breakers to breathe easy.
"Our fourth-quarter defence is something that's been
outstanding through this period and we locked into it again
tonight and we were pretty tough to score on," Vickerman
The Sandpit may have been something of a graveyard in the
past - with the Breakers having won just four of 16 games at
the venue heading the clash - but Cedric Jackson's 18 points,
eight assists and seven rebounds ensured the his side felt
right at home.
The zone defence employed by Gordie McLeod usually poses
problems for the Breakers, but they had no issues with it
tonight. Five Breakers reached double figures, including CJ
Bruton whose three triples helped the Breakers to a 49-43
With Wollongong's shooting hovering around 60 per cent midway
through the third, it was a credit to the Breakers' defence
that they retained a handy advantage. New Zealand were
hammering the Hawks on the boards, including a massive margin
of 14 on the offensive glass, as the lead swelled to double
figures with two minutes remaining in the third.
But those two minutes saw the Hawks make serious inroads and
left the game balanced at 68-66 heading to the final period.
The Breakers burst out of the blocks in the fourth on a 16-1
run, however, clinching the record and immediately casting
their minds to next week's showdown with Perth.
"It's a series we haven't played well in so far and I know we
want to make a change to that," Vickerman said. "I think a
lot of people's minds will switch very quickly to that game."
Breakers 91 (Jackson 18, Henry 14, Abercrombie 11),
Wollongong 74 (Deleon 24, Grant 10, Forman 10). HT: 49-43.
- Kris Shannon of APNZ