Wildcats coach praises team's will to win

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson has praised his side's will to win after a gutsy 88-83 overtime on the road against Cairns.

Missing three starters in Damian Martin, Terrico White and Angus Brandt, the ladder-leading Wildcats had to pull out all the stops to get the win on Saturday night.

"We've been running on fumes here," Gleeson said post-match. "I don't think we played exceptionally well and we certainly didn't shoot the ball exceptionally well.

"I thought the workmanlike, hard-hat on, roll the sleeves up and let's get after it (attitude) was first class."

Bryce Cotton topped Perth's scoring with 26 points, including four from long range, but almost cost the Wildcats the game.

Perth had a two-possession, four-point lead against Cairns with four seconds left on the clock. The Snakes' only chance to level the scores was with a foul on a successful three-point attempt.

Taipans import Melo Trimble took the long-range shot in the dying seconds and was fouled by Cotton in the process, taking him to the free-throw line with 0.8 left on the clock.

His clutch extra point levelled it up, taking it to an extra period. But the visitors regained their composure to regain the lead.

"I thought we had really toughed it out to get it to a two-possession game," Gleeson said.

"Bryce probably just got caught up in the emotion of the game.

"It was a great shot - let's not forget about that - on the run, floating in, It was a great shot."

Gleeson said the team bonded together to ensure they didn't cough up the game in overtime.

"It was good for us that we didn't lose our composure," he said.

The Wildcats now boast an imposing 8-1 record, while the Snakes are 1-7 with a seven-game losing streak following their opening round win in Brisbane.

The Perth coach had some sympathy for his rivals.

"I've watched Cairns nearly every game - they are unlucky not to be in a winning win/loss record," Gleeson said.

"There's been a couple of games this year they probably should have won and you can say this one here was another close one.

"They are right there and they are going to turn the corner real soon because they've got some great players."

The Wildcats go to Auckland on Friday to take on the New Zealand Breakers, while Cairns travel to Adelaide for a clash against the 36ers.