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R9 Report: Desperate Snakes run riot over Kings

The Cairns Taipans have answered critics with one of their more impressive wins this season following an embarrassment two days prior in Townsville, taking down Sydney 101-83. With their season teetering on the brink the hosts got back to their roots on Friday, sharing the pie in a copybook offensive showing that had every Taipan looking like a star. The hosts (52 bench points) found six double-digit contributions led by Torrey Craig’s 20, while Sydney also played the team game with five in double figures, led by captain Tommy Garlepp and young centre Angus Brandt with 16 points. Markel Starks (18 points) eased his way into the contest before putting the foot down in tandem with Craig. Post-game Taipans captain Cameron Gliddon heaped praise on veteran Alex Loughton for a new warm-up approach that increased talk and confidence which translated to the game. “We changed that warm-up to get more game-like talk rather than the fake talk when you’re doing the lay-up lines,” he said of the simulated 2-on-2 approach. “It was Alex’s idea. Really good idea. “I told the boys before the game that when we get to the locker room we better all be proud of our effort because that wasn’t the case on Wednesday.” Gliddon promised a vastly different performance following their embarrassment in Townsville two days prior, and they delivered in a big way with 33 by quarter time. The visitors cut a 12-point quarter-time deficit in half on a Josh Childress three midway through the second term, but for every Sydney run, the Snakes rallied. Cairns’ X-Factor Craig was the everywhere man with eight points and five rebounds by half time, as veteran Cameron Tragardh awoke from a scoring slumber to record eight of his own by the main break. In fact, eight was the magic number as six players in total held game-highs of eight points at half time. Down seven going into the third term Sydney would not quit, chipping the margin down to three by the 5:16 mark. However, the visitors lost their way with three of their 20 turnovers and 2-of-9 shooting over the remainder of the quarter to find themselves down nine with 10 minutes to play. “I think we beat ourselves,” Kings coach Joe Connelly said after his first NBL game in charge. “I don’t think our loss was based on effort, our loss was based on some bad decisions." Starks and Craig continued on from an impressive third quarter as Cairns hit seven of their first 10 shots of the final term. Loughton, Starks and Gliddon all landed late threes as the nine-point three-quarter-time lead blew out to 18 by the final buzzer. Sydney will evaluate star Josh Childress after the import left the court in the second quarter with a hand complaint. “He hurt his hand in the first quarter; not the hand he had (fractured), his opposite hand,” Connelly said. “He couldn’t even grip the basketball but wanted to stay in there and play. The physio will take a look at it.” Cairns are back on court in Illawarra on Wednesday, while Sydney faces a mountainous task in New Zealand on Friday.   CAIRNS TAIPANS 101 (Craig 20, Starks 18, Loughton 12) SYDNEY KINGS 83 (Brandt 16, Garlepp 16, Khazzouh 14) BOX SCORE
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