NZ Breakers capture ANBL three-peat

18:20, Apr 12 2013
Breakers vs 36ers
Dillon Boucher and Tom Abercrombie of the Breakers compete with Anthony Petrie and Daniel Johnson of Adelaide.
Breakers vs 36ers
Jason Cadee of Adelaide competes with Daryl Corletto of the Breakers.
Breakers vs 36ers
Will Hudson of the Breakers dunks the ball during the round two NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Adelaide 36ers.
Breakers vs 36ers
Stephen Weigh of Adelaide makes a break during the round two NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Adelaide 36ers.
Breakers vs Wildcats
lex Pledger of the Breakers competes with Matthew Knight of the Wildcats during the round one NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats.
Breakers vs Wildcats
Mika Vukona of the Breakers drives passed Shawn Redhage of the Wildcats.
Breakers vs Wildcats
Tom Abercrombie, CJ Bruton and Dillon Boucher of the Breakers look on during the round one NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Perth Wildcats.
Breakers vs Wildcats
Damian Martin of the Wildcats gets around CJ Bruton of the Breakers.
Breakers
Breakers' Mika Vukona drives against Crocs' Jacob Holmes.
Breakers
Mika Vukona under pressure from Jacob Holmes.
Cedric Jackson of the Breakers rides the shoulders of Jacob Holmes of the Crocs.
Cedric Jackson of the Breakers rides the shoulders of Jacob Holmes of the Crocs.
Breakers
Gary Ervin lays up a shot for the Crocs as Alex Pledger attempts a block.
Tom Abercrombie
Tom Abercrombie goes for the block on Kings' Tom Garlepp.
Cedric Jackson
Cedric Jackson with the ball for the Breakers.
Daryl Corletto
Daryl Corletto the ball up for the Breakers.
Cedric Jackson
Cedric Jackson collides with Corin Henry of the Sydney Kings.
Mika Vukona
Mika Vukona shoots the match-winning three-pointer against the Sydney Kings.
Breakers vs Crocs
Cedric Jackson of the Breakers looks to drive past Larry Abney of the Crocodiles.
Breakers vs Crocs
Daryl Corletto of the Breakers drives past Jacob Holmes of the Crocodiles.
Breakers vs Crocs
Russell Hinder of the Crocodiles attmpts to drive past Alex Pledger of the Breakers.
CJ Bruton
CJ Bruton barks out some orders to team-mates.
Cedric Jackson
Cedric Jackson on the ball for the Breakers.
Dillon Boucher
Dillon Boucher celebrates during the Breakers win over the Townsville Crocodiles.
Tom Abercombie
Tom Abercombie throws down a slam dunk.
Tai Webster
Tai Webster takes the ball to the hoop.
Breakers vs Melbourne
Tom Abercrombie of New Zealand (L) and Seth Scott of Melbourne compete for the ball.
Breakers vs Melbourne
Will Hudson of the Breakers during the round nine NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Melbourne Tigers.
Breakers vs Melbourne
Cedric Jackson of the Breakers collects the rebound during the round nine NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Melbourne Tigers.
Breakers vs Melbourne
Cory Webster of the Breakers takes a shot against Melbourne.
Breakers v Taipans
Cedric Jackson goes up for two of his NBL career-high 32 points against the Taipans.
Breakers v Taipans
Mika Vukona chases a loose ball during the Breakers win over the Taipans.
Breakers v Taipans
Tom Abercrombie floats a ball over Brad Hill of the Taipans.
Breakers v Taipans
Alex Pledger pulls down a rebound against the Taipans.
Breakers v Taipans
Dillon Boucher sticks close to Dusty Rychart of the Taipans during the Breakers' 97-76 win.
NZ Breakers
Adelaide's Luke Schencher protects the ball as CJ Bruton, Dillon Boucher and Will Hudson close in.
NZ Breakers
Mika Vukona guards Adelaide's Dan Johnson.
NZ Breakers
Cedric Jackson goes up for a lay-up during the Breakers away win over Townsville.
NZ Breakers
Breakers and 36ers players dive on a loose ball.
NZ Breakers
Will Hudson attempts a block on Crocs player Michael Cedar.
NZ Breakers
Leon Henry celebrates his double three-pointers at the end of the third quarter against the Crocs with teammate Mika Vukona.
NZ Breakers
Mika Vukona protects the ball from Hawks players Tyson Demos and Oscar Forman.
NZ Breakers
Tom Abercrombie completes an alley-oop pass from Cedric Jackson during the heritage game against the Hawks.
NZ Breakers
Dillon Boucher, a member of the original Breakers side, looks for a pass during the heritage game.
NZ Breakers
Will Hudson blocks Hawks guard Adris Deleon.
Breakers v Kings
Tom Abercrombie goes up for a dunk as James Harvey of the Kings looks on.
Breakers v Kings
Daryl Corletto and Dillon Boucher celebrate the Breakers' hot start against the Kings.
Breakers v Kings
Mika Vukona goes for the easy lay-up.
Breakers v Kings
Daryl Corletto nails a three on his way to 14 points in the first four minutes against the Kings.
Breakers v Perth
Corey Webster shoots over Kevin Lisch on his way to a career high 14 points.
Breakers v Perth
CJ Bruton celebrates a three pointer.
Breakers v Perth
Cedric Jackson lays the ball up over Perth's Matt Knight.
Breakers v Perth
Tom Abercrombie loses a shoe as he goes for a dunk over Greg Hire.
Breakers v Perth
Jeremiah Trueman of the Wildcats and Alex Pledger of the Breakers compete for the ball.
Breakers
Mika Vukona celebrates a late basket with CJ Bruton.
Breakers
Dillon Boucher goes for a steal during the Breakers 92-84 win over the Wollongong Hawks.
Breakers
Tom Abercrombie takes a jump shot during the game against the Hawks.
Breakers
Cedric Jackson shoots under pressure from Wollongong Hawks players.
Breakers v Hawks
Cedric Jackson makes a pass around Oscar Forman of the Hawks.
Breakers v Hawks
Tom Abercrombie shoots a jumper during the win over the Hawks.
Breakers v Hawks
CJ Bruton entertains the crowd during a break in play.
Breakers vs 36ers
Breakers player Corey Webster scores a layup against the 36ers.
Breakers vs 36ers
Tom Abercrombie slam dunks the ball.
Breakers vs 36ers
Breakers' Mika Vukona drives at 36ers' Stephen Weigh.
Breakers vs 36ers
Breakers' Corey Webster takes on 36ers' Anthony Petrie.
Breakers vs 36ers
Breakers' Dillon Boucher celebrates the team's 13th straight win.
Breakers vs Cairns
Tom Abercrombie of the Breakers hangs on the hoop after dunking the ball.
Breakers vs Cairns
Mika Vukona goes after the ball against Cairns.
Breakers vs Cairns
Cedric Jackson shares a hug with Dillon Boucher after the thrilling win over Cairns.
Breakers vs Cairns
Mika Vukona of the Breakers lays the ball up.
Breakers 2012-2013 season photos
An injured Mika Vukona is helped off the court during the Breakers' clash with the Tigers.
Breakers 2012-2013 season photos
Dillon Boucher waves to Breakers fans for the last time ahead of the game with the Tigers.
Breakers 2012-2013 season photos
Christopher Goulding of the Tigers tries to block Dillon Boucher during their clash at the North Shore Events Centre.
Breakers v Tigers
Tai (left) and Corey Webster enjoy some time on court together in the final quarter of the win over the Tigers.
Breakers v Tigers
Reuben Te Rangi drives past Lucas Walker of the Tigers.
Breakers v Tigers
Tom Abercrombie soars high for one of his three alley-oops in the opening quarter of the win over Melbourne.
Breakers v Wildcats
Alex Pledger pulls down a rebound in the regular season finale against the Wildcats.
Breakers v Wildcats
Cedric Jackson mulls the loss after the Wildcats defeated the Breakers in Perth.
Breakers v Wildcats
Dillon Boucher tries to deny the pass for Jesse Wagstaff during the Breakers loss to the Wildcats.

Once, twice, three times a champion.

The NZ Breakers completed an historic title three-peat in the Australian NBL, making a clean sweep of the post-season with a dramatic 70-66 victory over the Perth Wildcats to close out the grand final in brilliant style.

In front of 13,527 rabid, red-clad fans at the Perth fortress that was supposed to be inpenetrable, the Breakers showed all the champion qualities that have established them firmly as New Zealand's premier sporting franchise.

Alex Pledger
Darnell Lazare of the Kings defends over the top of Alex Pledger during game one of the ANBL semifinal series at Vector Arena.
Leon Henry
Leon Henry of the Breakers collects a rebound during game one of the ANBL semifinal series with the Sydney Kings.
Andrej Lemanis
Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis gives instructions to his players during game one of the ANBL semifinal series against the Kings.
Daryl Corletto
Daryl Corletto of the Breakers looks to play the ball against the Sydney Kings in game one of their semifinal at Vector Arena.
Breakers in 2013 ANBL Playoffs
Darnell Lazare of the Kings is blocked by Cedric Jackson of the Breakers during game one of the NBL Semi Final series between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings.
Breakers in 2013 ANBL Playoffs
Tom Abercrombie of the Breakers dunks the ball during game one of the NBL Semi Final series between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings.
Breakers in 2013 ANBL Playoffs
Cedric Jackson of the Breakers shoots during game one of the NBL Semi Final series between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings.
Breakers in 2013 ANBL Playoffs
Dillon Boucher of the Breakers collects the ball during game one of the NBL Semi Final series between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings.
Breakers in 2013 ANBL Playoffs
Ian Crosswhite of the Kings loses the ball during game one of the NBL Semi Final series between the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings.
New Zealand Breakers
Mike Vukona in action in the second semifinal against the Sydney Kings.
New Zealand Breakers
Corey Webster puts up a shot against the Sydney Kings.
New Zealand Breakers
CJ Bruton reacts after sinking a three-pointer against the Sydney Kings.
New Zealand Breakers
The Breakers celebrate after winning the semifinal series against the Sydney Kings.
Breakers
Breakers forward Leon Henry and centre Alex Pledger celebrate victory over Perth Wildcats in game one of the ANBL grand final series.
Breakers
Tom Abercrombie steal possession and make a charge against the Wildcats.
Breakers v Wildcats
Daryl Corletto gets two of his team high 19 points during game one.
Breakers v Wildcats
Cedric Jackson gets around Rhys Carter of the Wildcats.
Breakers v Wildcats
CJ Bruton and Daryl Corletto high five after a made three-pointer.
Breakers v Wildcats
Corey Webster finds away to get around Jeremiah Trueman and Everard Bartlett.
Breakers v Wildcats
Alex Pledger is unlucky to be called for the foul after this block on Perth's Jeremiah Trueman.
CJ Bruton
CJ Bruton looks for a passing lane under pressure from Everard Bartlett.
CJ Bruton
CJ Bruton works the referee during the second quarter of Game 2.
Leon Henry
Breakers small forward Leon Henry reaches for a rebound in the second period.
Shawn Redhage
Shawn Redhage attempts to grab control of the ball in Game 2.
Breakers celebrate three-peat
The NZ Breakers celebrate their three-peat after defeating the Perth Wildcats in Game 2.
Breakers celebrate three-peat
Will Hudson jumps into the arms of coach Andrej Lemanis, while Corey Webster and Mika Vukona celebrate the final seconds on the bench.
Breakers celebrate three-peat
Somewhere at the bottom of the Breakers celebratory man-stack is Dillon Boucher, who fired the ball in the air as time expired.
Dillon Boucher cuts down the net
Retiring Dillon Boucher wears the championship net around his neck.
CJ Bruton and Cedric Jackson
CJ Bruton and Cedric Jackson show off the Australian NBL Trophy and their championship medals in the locker room.
Dillon Boucher and CJ Bruton
Multiple champions, Dillon Boucher (left) celebrates his fourth ANBL crown, while CJ Bruton savours his sixth.
Andrej Lemanis
Head coach Andrej Lemanis cuts down his piece of net after the Game 2 victory.
Andrej Lemanis
Andrej Lemanis speaks during the post-game ceremony, while Dillon Boucher celebrates after his last game.
Will Hudson
Will Hudson lets the Perth crowd know exactly which team just beat their Wildcats.
Breakers celebrate three-peat
The entire Breakers team swarms around Dillon Boucher after time expired.
Shawn Redhage
A bandaged Shawn Redhage sums up the emotions of the Wildcats and their fans.

They had to withstand a furious finish from the home side, who have now lost the last two grand finals to their Kiwi rivals, but they held firm in a pulsating final minute to seal a famous victory behind two ice-cool free-throws from veteran CJ Bruton with nine seconds remaining.

Bruton was magnificent, as he so often is at this time of the year, leading the Breakers with a game-high 16 points off the bench. He made five of his nine field goals, including four of his five attempts from beyond the arc, to deliver a game-winning turn after a quiet opener.

He has now won an incredible six ANBL titles.

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Breakers wins
Paul Henare of the Breakers lifts the trophy after winning game three of the NBL Grand Final series in 2011.
Breakers wins
Paul Henare of the Breakers lifts the trophy after winning game three of the NBL Grand Final series in 2011.
Breakers wins
Dillon Boucher of the Breakers holds the NBL trophy during their victory parade in 2011.
Breakers wins
The Breakers celebrate winning the 2011 NBL Grand Final.
Breakers wins
Breakers forward Dillon Boucher celebrating as the Breakers won the 2012 NBL Grand Final.
Breakers wins
The Breakers celebrate their 2011 NBL Grand Final win.
Breakers wins
The Breakers 2011 NBL Grand Final victory parade.
Breakers wins
Breakers coach Andre Lemanis shares a kiss after winning the 2011 NBL final.
Breakers wins
Breakers captain Paul Henare celebrates with the net after winning the 2011 NBL final.
Breakers wins
The scoreboard after the Breakers won their 2011 NBL final.
Breakers wins
Breakers fans during their 2011 NBL final, which they won.
Breakers wins
The Breakers celebrate their 2012 NBL Grand Final win.
Breakers wins
Gary Wilkinson of the Breakers thanks fans after their 2012 NBL Grand Final win.
Breakers wins
Gary Wilkinson of the Breakers goes up against Luke Nevill of the Wildcats during their 2012 NBL Grand Final. The Breakers ended up winning.
Breakers wins
Breakers' Mika Vukona spins around Wildcats' Shawn Redhage during their 2012 NBL Grand Final. The Breakers ended up winning.
Breakers wins
The Breakers celebrate their 2012 NBL Grand Final win.

Two other Breakers stepped up hugely on the big occasion.

Cedric Jackson, after a quiet first half, was clutch over the run home as he contributed 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. He made just six of  his 17 shots but he came up trumps when the game went on the line over the run home, and was later named finals MVP to go with his regular season award.

Daryl Corletto had another big-time outing too, following on from his heroics of game one. He finished with 11 points (3/8 FG, 2/5 3PT) and also managed to get under the skin of Wildcats star Kevin Lisch over a tempestuous second half.

Breakers celebrate three-peat
THREE-PLAY: The New Zealand Breakers are an example of what is unfortunate about the current Halbergs system.

Tom Abercrombie added six points and 11 rebounds for the three-time champions, Alex Pledger had eight points and seven boards, and Will Hudson had eight points and four rebounds in a game where neither team shot the ball well, but both played as hard as they possibly could.

The Wildcats had looked dead and buried at the end of the third quarter - down 11 - but came charging home on the back of their pressing defence to nearly steal a famous victory.

When Lisch and Jesse Wagstaff made back-to-back triples midway through the final quarter the home side trailed by just two points, and had every chance as the decibel went through the roof in this huge stadium.

But the Breakers continued to make the big plays when they were needed. Pledger made a block, Jackson a steal and somehow amidst it all the Kiwi club kept their noses in front in a manic finish.

The Cats had their chances at the end, but Rhys Carter could not make a triple, nor Redhage a fadeaway in the lane, that would have levelled the game, and the Breakers made the free-throws that were needed to nail the threepeat.

Redhage and Lisch scored 14 pointa apiece for the Wildcats and Wagstaff added 10.

Neither team shot well - the Breakers went at 34 percent from the floor, the Cats 33 percent - but both played with tremendous intensity and delivered a fitting spectacle to bring the curtain down on the season.

The first half ended with the scores tied at 29-29, which was a bit like watching a nil-all half in football. Close, but not exactly enthralling.

The opening quarter was jittery, to say the least, from both sides, with neither settling into anything resembling an offensive rhythm. Apart from Breakers veteran CJ Bruton who came off the bench and made his only two shots - both triples -  to provide some much needed impetus for the visitors who led 19-18 at the first break.

But the Breakers started the second period ice cold and made just a single bucket over the first five minutes as the Cats stormed into a 26-21 lead that got the big home crowd excited, to say the least.

The Breakers, though, stemmed the bleeding in time and reeled in the hosts over the run in to the major break. Both teams staggered, rather than swaggered, into the sheds as the shots kept clunking out, the turnovers kept coming and this building's reputation as a shooters' graveyard firmed.

The Wildcats shot just 27 percent from the floor for the half, and made just two of 10 from deep, continuing their brick-laying form from Auckland. The visitors were only marginally better, dropping 33 percent of their field goals and three of their 11 attempts from long range.

The Breakers edged second-chance points (10-2) and points off turnovers (11-3), but the Cats stayed in it by converting nine of their 10 free-throw attempts and limiting their rivals to just four trips to the line, where they converted two.

The third quarter was positively explosive, with Corletto and Lisch twice going at it in pushing matches, the second of which led to the Breakers earning four free-throws and possession as things threatened to get out of hand.

But it was the champs who kept their cool in a heated quarter, Jackson finally getting things going to the hoop, Will Hudson establishing some nice position inside and Bruton and Corletto chipping in with big-time triples as the lead grew to 11 and remained there (54-43) at the final break.

Of course there was a Wildcats run coming. Everyone in this packed house knew uit. Damn, the Breakers probably even knew it.

Sure enough midway through the final period Perth cranked things up big time. Vukona fouled out, Lisch and Wagstaff made back-to-back triples and suddenly it was a two-point game (59-57) with the best part of five minutes still remaining.

However the Breakers have some very special qualities and they called on them when they were needed, and joined the Sydney Kings as the only club to win a three-peat of league titles.

And Dillon Boucher bowed out at this level of the game in the most fitting fashion.

NZ Breakers 70 (CJ Bruton 16, Cedric Jackson 14, Daryl Corletto 11) Perth Wildcats 66 (Kevin Lisch 14, Shawn Redhage 14, Jesse Wagstaff 10). 1Q: 19-18; HT: 29-29; 3Q: 54-43.

(NZ Breakers win series 2-0)

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