Cairns defeats Brisbane in Loughton’s last game

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Their season may have gone down in flames early, but the Cairns Taipans have ensured captain Alex Loughton’s name goes down in glory with an emotion-charged win over the Brisbane Bullets on Saturday.

Love was all around the building with 5,006 Orange Army faithful turning up to pay appreciation to the club stalwart, as his late and-one could have destroyed their Sunshine State rivals’ chances at making the playoffs.

It was done in the grind-it-out method so common to Loughton and his Snakes of the past decade, with the Bullets held to their equal season-low game score.

Loughton exited the court with a trademark fist pump in front of a standing ovation and put a cap on the night with a mic-drop speech on court.

Melo Trimble had a game-high 23 points, Loughton’s 11 was Cairns’ next best, while DJ Newbill tallied 10. But the most telling stat of the night was the Snakes’ 50-38 ownership of the glass.

Brisbane was paced by Jeremy Kendle’s 17, while Lamar Patterson had 16 but came up short when his side needed it most in the fourth quarter.

The Snakes’ start was apropos with Loughton landing a long ball to open his side’s account.

Both sides started slowly as just a field goal apiece was scored in the first three minutes. Cairns kicked on with jumpers, while Brisbane had gone past the point of being ice cold, they were simply abhorrent.

Patterson canned the first shot of the game, but it was followed by five minutes of Stormtrooper shooting as percentages dropped to single digits.

All forms of onomatopoeia were heard across the packed Cairns Convention Centre as an equal-parts incredulous and excited Taipans crowd mocked missed layup after missed layup from typically deft Bullets finishers.

Lucas Walker threw down possibly his side’s dunk of the season with a swooping follow jam on AJ Davis Jnr’s head.

Cairns hit the first break in style, up 18-11 with Devon Hall splashing a corner three on the buzzer.

But by no means was that impetus for a high-scoring start to the second quarter.

The pace was slow and bricklayers aplenty, before Trimble turned it up.

Kendle hit a double-pump prayer from 35 feet on the half-time buzzer to peg the margin back to single figures at the main break.

Trimble tripled midway through the third to put his side up 52-37, before Adam Gibson inspired an 11-0 run either side of three quarter-time to revive a Bullets season on life support.

Both sides went bucket for bucket as the heat rose, but Cairns came out the other side as Trimble scored 10 of his side’s last 17 points to close a perfect afternoon in the Far North.

Brisbane now must beat New Zealand next Saturday at home and hope that the Adelaide 36ers lose their remaining games to Melbourne and Perth.


CAIRNS TAIPANS 79 (Trimble 23, Loughton 11, Newbill 10)

BRISBANE BULLETS 68 (Kendle 17, Patterson 16, Gibson 8, Te Rangi 8)


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