Record falls to an extra fine Cotton
THE Perth Wildcats have won the 2017 NBL Championship; another chapter in the story of the league's most successful franchise.
Star import, Bryce Cotton, finished with 45 points - a record for a 40-minute NBL Grand Final - as the Wildcats walked away as 95-86 victors.
Casey Prather finished his impressive post-season with 17 points, while Damian Martin chipped in with three points, five rebounds, and three assists.
With eight titles in their 33-year history - including four over the past eight seasons - the Wildcats have continue to prove themselves to be among Australia's most esteemed sporting clubs.
It was the Wildcats who came out of the gates quickly, opening Game 3 with 12 straight points, thanks to the aggressive play of Prather and Wagstaff.
The Hawks finally got on the board at the 7:24 mark in the first period, thanks to a pair of Nick Kay free throws, but the momentum was all Perth's.
As the quarter approached its midway point, the Hawks found their feet, dropping into a zone and finding a rhythm on the offensive end. Rhys Martin led an 11-3 run to finishing the opening quarter, with the Wildcats holding onto a 26-17 lead at the first break.
The second period opened with more of the same energy from the Wildcats, but the Hawks were slowly able to cut into their deficit.
Rob Beveridge's side withstood three straight three-pointers from Cotton - including one four-point play - to continue to remain within striking distance.
Clarke began to find his range, while Harris also found a way to contribute, helping the Hawks - who were down by as many as 16 points in the second quarter - head into the halftime with just a 46-41 disadvantage.
Cotton opened the second half with the hot hand, again, hitting a series of baskets to extend the Wildcats' lead to double-digits.
Through the likes of Ogilvy, Kay, and Norton, the Hawks managed to keep the game within one or two possessions; exchanging runs with the hometown team.
However, Cotton's impressive play continue, with the star guard reaching 31 points by the end of the third quarter, breaking the NBL record for the most points scored in a 40-minute Grand Final.
Heading into the final period, the Wildcats led 71-63, with a second-straight NBL Championship in their grasp.
While the Hawks continued their signature fight in the fourth quarter, it was Cotton and Prather who were able to seal the win, and championship for the Wildcats.
The incredible effort was, very fittingly, capped off by a Damian Martin three-pointer; the NBL Championship trophy remaining in Perth.
Skipper Martin, whose five-month-old daughter Maggie was part of the sellout crwod at Perth Arena said this was the best of his four titles with the Wildcats.
"This has been by far the best 12 months of my life," he said.
"To have the newborn there was really special.
"The quality of the league has been the best it has been for about eight years and the fellas just had extra motivation to win for Shawn Redhage."
Redhage also win his fourth NBL crown with the Wildcats in what was his last game for the franchise before retiring.