Tasmania JackJumpers reach NBL grand final with victory over Melbourne United

The rise of the JackJumpers has followed the demise of the Wildcats with the NBL’s newest franchise on their way to the league’s championship series in their inaugural season.

The JackJumpers will play the Sydney Kings in the NBL grand final series after defeating Melbourne United 76-73 in game three of their semi-final series.

JackJumpers guard Josh Adams was the star for the Tasmanian franchise, scoring 30 points, including 12 in the third quarter to set up the victory, which sparked on-court celebrations.

Adams said his side would try to remain level-headed as they seek a piece of NBL history against the Kings.

“We’re on top of the world right now,” Adams said.

“This is a surreal feeling, especially to do it here against the reigning champions.”

After a cagey first half where the momentum swung multiple times, the sides entered the final two-quarters level at 40-40. 

Adams, alongside Jack McVeigh, who scored 16 points for the game, asserted themselves on both sides of the ball.

Scott Roth has guided Tasmania to a grand final series.(Getty Images:  Kelly Defina)

For Melbourne Shea Ili led the scoring with 18 points, while Jo Lual-Acuil Jr and Jack White contributed with 16 and 14 points respectively. 

But United was often wasteful with the ball and committed 14 turnovers for the game and were wasteful at the free-throw line, where they made just 11 of 21.

Their form beyond the arc just as poor as they went six for 29 on 3-point attempts.

With tears in his eyes, JackJumpers coach Scott Roth said was full of praise for what he described as a “special group” of players.

“I don’t know what to say other than we continue to defend the island and make the state proud,” he said.

The JackJumpers were arguably lucky to have made it this far when in their last regular season game they needed to defeat United, and have the Perth Wildcats lose to South Melbourne and fail to make the NBL playoffs for the first time in 35 years.

The JackJumpers now face Sydney in a 5-game series to decide the champions, with the second game to be played in Tasmania.


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