Doyle drives Tassie to trump Taipans

A MUCH-NEEDED starring performance from guard Milton Doyle was the catalyst that sparked the Tasmania JackJumpers to a bounce-back win over the Cairns Taipans in Round 14 of the National Basketball League (NBL) over the weekend.

The JackJumpers were handed a tough loss at the hands of the New Zealand Breakers on the first day of 2024, and with a number of sides right in the race for a top four spot, needed to get back on the winners list sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, the Taipans were in danger of falling behind the pack in the final quarter of the fixture, having struggled with up and down form, but were coming in to the game fresh off a convincing upset win over the ladder-leading Melbourne United, so had enough belief to get the job done.

The game took place at MyState Bank Arena on Saturday evening in front of a pumped up Tassie crowd, and it took no time for Tasmania to get back to its best. An impressive 29 points in the opening term got the home side out to a hefty lead at the first change.

The JackJumpers won three of the four quarters and although Cairns outscored Tassie in the last, it was too late as the hosts cruised home to a 17-point win to put themselves back into third spot.

Aside from the result itself, the most pleasing aspect of the match for Tasmania was the performance of Doyle, who was back to his high-scoring best against the Taipans.

Tasmania JackJumpers (103) def. Cairns Taipans (86)

Milton Doyle – 31 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block

It was a tremendous outing from one of the early-season MVP favourites, who showed exactly what he can do if he gets his eye in. Doing most of his work from inside the arc, Doyle was unstoppable at times and had a huge say on the result of the game.


While he was the game’s top-scorer, Doyle was not immediately involved on the scoring front, with Anthony Drmic firing from behind the arc early. The import was able to find his first basket with a pull-up mid-range jumpshot at the five-minute mark of the opening quarter. It was his only make of the term, but Tasmania still led by nine points at the first change.


Doyle began to get his eye in throughout the second period, helping the JackJumpers extend their lead further. Having made a pair of jumpshots, he started to attack the paint more and expose Cairns off the dribble. Of his 12 points for the period, 10 came in the form of lay-ups, using the screen to leave his immediate defender in his wake as he used his deft touch to bank in shots off the glass.


Doyle started the second half in style, splashing home his first and only three-pointer of the game to put the JackJumpers up by 13 points a few minutes into the third period. He continued to torment the defence with both mid-range jumpers and smooth drives to the hoop, but with Tasmania truly in the box seat, coach Scott Roth sat his star guard for much of the period given he had the luxury to do so.


Having been injected back into the game to start the final period, Doyle made his presence felt in the opening minutes of the term, forcing young guard Taran Armstrong into a foul and finishing through the contact for an and-one. His relentless attack on the rim was too much for Cairns to stop as the game truly slipped from its grasp. With the Taipans looking to stay in the match, Doyle was kept in the game, and registered another 12 points to close out the contest in style.


It was a statement performance from Doyle, who had not looked his best after an absence due to personal reasons in recent months. However, he showed his is still a professional scorer, and may have sent a warning to the rest of the competition with this showing.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments