Cairns Taipans roll Townsville Crocs

In what we would like to name the "Strapit Cup", our 2 NBL teams fought out a very tough North Queensland Derby on Saturday. Read the full report.


Anthony Galloway, Pagemasters

The Cairns Taipans out-lasted their North Queensland rivals the Townsville Crocodiles 103-92 in Townsville on Saturday night.

The Taipans withstood a run by the Crocs at the beginning of the second half – in which guard Steven Markovic shot three-straight triples – to win the first Reptile Rumble of the 2013/14 season.

Led by Jamar Wilson (27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) and captain Alex Loughton (17 points, 6 rebounds), the Taipans shot eight three-pointers to dominate the Crocs from outside.

“We knew coming down here was going to be emotional – it was obviously a big night for Townsville,” Cairns coach Aaron Fearne said.

“We just really wanted to lock into what we could control and I thought for the most part we did a really good job.

“We’ve got really good shooters and we’re going to be able to shoot the ball fairly well.”

Fearne also praised Wilson for his dominant performance.

“He’s a scorer and he’s going to need to be a scorer for us,” Fearne said.

Markovic (15 points, 4 assists) led the way for the Crocs, while swingmen Todd Blanchfield (14 points) and Josh Pace (15 points) were also solid.

The Taipans hit 6-of-9 three-pointers in the first quarter to jump out to an early eight-point lead, with Demitri McCamey hitting back-to-back threes midday through the stanza.

The Crocs crawled their way back into the game - with Blanchfield going backdoor for a spectacular baseline slam to put his side within two - but were unable to convert any of their four long-range attempts.

Wilson, who hit 13 points in the opening term, sunk two more triples to put his side ahead 33-26 going into quarter-time.

Neither team could gain an edge in the second quarter, with the Taipans maintaining a nine-point lead at half-time behind five more points from Wilson.

With the Crocs 0-of-6 from long-range Markovic decided to take matters into his own in the third, his three straight long bombs bringing the crowd and the game to life.

But with Loughton and Wilson carrying the Taipans they maintained a 12-point lead going into the last quarter.

Things turned even worse for Townsville when their main weapon forward Brian Conklin fouled out on an unsportsmanlike foul for tripping Loughton early in the fourth.

After Wilson shot another from range the game was well out of reach and the visitors ran away with the victory.

“That was one that got away,” Crocs coach Shawn Dennis said.

“We talked about taking away their three-point shot early and we did a poor job of that in the first quarter, and from there we constantly chased our tails.

“We showed we had a lot of fight but we couldn’t get back into the game and unfortunately we would group two or three errors together at crucial times.”

Cairns Taipans 103 (Wilson 27, Loughton 15, Tragardh 14)
Townsville Crocodiles 92   (Markovic 15, Pace 15, Blanchfield 14)

Crowd: 3265 at Townsville Entertainment Centre