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R6 Report: Suffocating Snakes end Melbourne run

Cairns Taipans put the sting back in to their defence to take down the previously undefeated Melbourne United at Cairns Conventional Centre on Friday night. The Taipans long-standing trademarks of hardened defence and team offence powered their best win of the campaign as an 82-70 victory stopped Melbourne United’s nine-game winning streak. Taipans captain Cameron Gliddon scored a game-high 18 points and drove his side in the second half after a forgettable 27-13 second term saw them lose an early lead and trail the visitors at half time. Import guard Markel Starks showed he is growing in to his role with the Snakes scoring 16 points while Mark Worthington’s nine points and 10 rebounds belied his physical defence and strong-minded play against his former club. Daniel Kickert and Stephen Holt scored 17 points each to lead Melbourne while Todd Blanchfield added 16 points, although Melbourne will rue their poor foul shooting as they made just seven-of-17 free throws compared to 17-of-21 foul shooting from the home side. Cairns coach Aaron Fearne said it was his side’s best defensive game this season. “We aren’t going to beat Melbourne going up the court at 1000 miles an hour, we won’t beat Adelaide that way – we have to play a different way,” Fearne said post-game. “I challenged our team’s effort at half time, there is no question about that, and to come out and defend like that it was sensational. “If that’s what we can build on then we will win a lot of games doing that.” Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos said Cairns deserved credit for being better on the night. “It was pretty simple – they were the better team and deserved to win,” Demopoulos said. “We did some things just okay but we did some other things not so well. “This team is a work in progress, this is the beginning and we’ll go back and keep working on what we do and get better at it.” The Taipans connected on multiple three-pointers while Starks and Worthington attacked the basket, as the Taipans enjoyed the spoils in a 30-18 first quarter. Daniel Kickert was a tower of strength for Melbourne with four three-pointers in his 14 first-half points but he had few helpers until Holt turned on an inspirited passage to end the second quarter. Holt scored 10-straight points including three triples before a Kickert tip-in saw Melbourne take a 45-43 lead at half time. Gliddon made a three-pointer early in the third to wrestle back the lead, then made another soon after to cap an eight-to-nothing run for the home side. With Melbourne looking to attack the basket, Torrey Craig chased down a Todd Blanchfield dunk attempt and blocked him at the rim with the Taipans up 61-52 at three-quarter time. The highlight reel continued to roll for the home side as Gliddon continued to fire with timely baskets in the final term, while several others joined in the run as the Taipans stormed to a memorable win.   CAIRNS TAIPANS 82 (Gliddon 18, Starks 16, Worthington 9) MELBOURNE UNITED 70 (Kickert 17, Holt 17, Blanchfield 16)
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