Tasmania erupts as JackJumpers secure NBL play-off spot in their first season

Tasmanian basketball royalty Kathy Foster says it’s “absolutely amazing” the Tasmania JackJumpers have made history by qualifying for the NBL finals in their first season.

The JackJumpers sealed their play-off spot in dramatic fashion on Sunday night when South East Melbourne Phoenix defeated the Perth Wildcats in overtime.

Foster, a 1984 Olympian and the first Tasmanian woman inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame, attends every JackJumpers game.

“I actually had a bit of a feeling that it might happen, I don’t know why, I was too scared to say it out loud but I sort of thought maybe it is their time that they will make the finals,” she said.

“The team is really not a team of champions, they’re a champion team and I just love the way they’ve played, the way they’ve embraced the community.”

Kathy Foster said basketball in Tasmania had “been in the wilderness for quite some time”.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

After 25 years without a Tasmanian NBL team, the former Hobart Islanders player said it was fantastic to see the state not just back on the national stage, but thriving.

“We’ve been in the wilderness for quite some time and Tassie has been a bit of a joke as far as basketball is concerned, and it’s just absolutely great to see it back,” she said.

“And young kids playing basketball and wanting to play basketball and talking about basketball, it’s fantastic.”

JackJumper players and coach celebrate on sidelines.
The JackJumpers will now play Melbourne in a three-game series.(Getty Images: Steve Bell )

‘You couldn’t script it any better’

JackJumpers chief executive Simon Brookhouse told ABC Radio Hobart he was thrilled with how the team had performed.

“We’re a bit small in terms of basketball teams, we’re a bit shorter than a few of the others, but their grit and their determination are second to none,” he said.

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“One thing that I think they’ve shown through all year is that the boys never give up.

“We never give up and it’s resulted in winning 17 games and making finals.”

JackJumpers fans erupted with elation at the result, which required the team to win its last four games and the Wildcats to lose its final two.

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They will now play Melbourne in a three-game series, kicking off on Thursday, with a home game to be played on Saturday.

Fan Nyal Merdivenci captured a video celebrating the wild result, exclaiming “woo, go JackJumpers”.

“Just unbelievable, you couldn’t script it any better, we booked flights and secured tickets for Thursday night,” he said.

Miriam Archer Nichols posted on social media: “The best news ever for all Tassie, and the guys, great coaches, and staff. GO JACKJUMPERS.”

Basketball player about to score
The JackJumpers have been enjoying a great season.(Facebook: Tasmania JackJumpers)

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania boss Luke Martin and former Premier David Bartlett were also among many prominent Tasmanians cheering on the team on social media.

A video of JackJumpers players celebrating as South East Melbourne knocked the Wildcats out of the play-off race has also gone viral.

Reference-www.abc.net.au

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