National Basketball League

Perth blows out Adelaide as Kai Sotto first pro start marred by thigh injury

JR Isaga
Perth blows out Adelaide as Kai Sotto first pro start marred by thigh injury

HURT. Kai Sotto logs just eight minutes after going down with an injury.


Kai Sotto finishes scoreless with just 1 rebound in his first pro career start after suffering an apparent left thigh injury

MANILA, Philippines – The Perth Wildcats dominated the Adelaide 36ers for a wire-to-wire 92-73 finish in the Australia National Basketball League (NBL) at the Adelaide Entertainment Center on Sunday, March 6.

With the win, the Wildcats kept their spot in third place, and rose to a 10-6 record, while the Sixers dropped their fourth straight game to settle with a 5-11 slate.

To make matters worse for Adelaide, Filipino prospect Kai Sotto also went down with an apparent left thigh injury in his first pro career start, and finished scoreless with just 1 rebound in 8 minutes after checking out with 6:08 left in the second quarter.

But even before the apparent injury, the Sixers’ outlook already looked grim as the Wildcats roared to a 15-2 first quarter start, which ballooned to a 20-point lead, 58-38, early in the third period.

Around that point, the broadcast zoomed in on Sotto behind the team bench working up a taped-up left thigh while commentators noted that Adelaide was already missing big men Isaac Humphries and Cameron Bairstow before Sotto went down.

Although the Sixers mustered a 19-8 run to cut its deficit to 9, 57-66, at the 2:21 mark of the third, Perth quickly regained full control with a 10-0 response for the 76-57 gap, and practically never looked back from there.

Three Wildcats scored 20-plus points in the easy win, led by former NBA player and NBL leading scorer Bryce Cotton’s 27 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three.

Todd Blanchfield torched the Sixers with 17 of his 22 points in the first quarter alone, while Vic Law, another ex-NBA player, added 22 markers as well with 9 rebounds.

Daniel Johnson paced the loss with a 19-point, 12-board double-double, but only shot 6-of-20 from the field, and missed 11 of his first 12 shots. Tad Dufelmeier added 12 markers, and 5 rebounds, while Sunday Dech needed 17 attempts to score 10 points.

Perth shot a sizzling 57% from the field in the first half, and settled with a 49% clip at the final buzzer. Meanwhile, Adelaide limped to a horrendous 30% clip by the end, a negligible improvement from the 26% it shot in the first two quarters.

The Sixers will try to end their slide with or without Sotto on Saturday, March 12, 5pm, Manila time, against a cellar-dwelling New Zealand Breakers side also aiming to end a three-game skid.

The Scores

Perth 92 – Cotton 27, Law 22, Blanchfield 22, Norton 7, Majok 6, Travers 6, Wagstaff 2, Purchase 0, Hayes-Brown 0, Zunic 0, Frazier 0.

Adelaide 73 – Johnson 19, Dufelmeier 12, Dech 10, Hannahs 10, Withers 9, Malou 5, McCarron 4, King 2, Harris 2, Sotto 0, Marshall 0.

Quarters: 27-20, 50-34, 76-60, 92-73.