Regional | Basketball

'Job's not done' - former Tall Black on Breakers' sixth NBL title chase after defeating JackJumpers

The Breakers are finally back in the finals chasing their sixth NBL Championship after defeating the JackJumpers in their third semi-final game last night in Spark Arena.

Last Thursday the best-of-three series was tied in Tasmania when last year's runner-up winners took game 2, 89-78. But game three's passionate home crowd and stellar performances, notably from Barry Brown Jr leading the scoreboard with 32 points alone, gave the Breakers all they needed to go through to the Championship series, winning 92-77.

Echoing his words after game one, former Tall Black player Brook Ruscoe (Te Atihaunui-ā-Pāpārangi), who worked commentary at the game, says the win "felt right".

"There was, I'll be honest, a really nervous energy not only among the players but also among the crowd at the start of the game, even 30 minutes into the buildup.

"It's been eight years since the boys have made it to the final. But Spark Arena... I haven't heard it that loud."

The Breakers make the final!

The win is a culmination of a season filled with changes in culture and attitude that have seen the Breakers go from the bottom last year to the finals last night. Ruscoe still had his doubts when the season first started but his attitude, too, has since changed back to one of excitement for his team.

"You could tell that they were going to enjoy the moment and night, with the crowd and their family after the game. But there was this little look in their eye, like 'yeah we'll enjoy this but the job's not done'.

"I was pleasantly surprised with that and it's going to help them a long way."

The Breakers will have some downtime before they meet the Sydney Kings in the championship series' first game, tipping off on Friday, March 3 across the ditch.

The top-of-the-table Kings won their series last night too, defeating the Cairns Taipans 79-64

"[The Kings] are a quality outfit. They're the reason they're the champs, they're the standard for the last two, maybe even three, years. It's a tough challenge ahead but if the Breakers can pull it together - who knows? Banner number five might be in the rafters."

Public Interest Journalism