THE competition’s newest team just seems to get the job done time and time again. On Friday night, the National Basketball League (NBL) action continued at MyState Bank Arena, with the Cairns Taipans travelling down to take on the Tasmania JackJumpers. The Taipans cannot make the NBL22 finals, but have been performing well of late, and look set to finish the season on a high. However, the JackJumpers are still a slim chance to make finals, and have been taking down some of the competition’s best sides in the last few weeks, so they came into the game as the favoured side. Fans at MyState Bank Arena were treated to an enthralling battle, with the match looking likely to go either way throughout various stages. After the Taipans took a big lead in the first half, the home side rallied with a magnificent effort in the third, and sneaking away to a seven-point lead and keeping their remarkable hopes of a postseason appearance alive and well.
Tasmania JackJumpers (87) def. Cairns Taipans (80)
The match kicked off with Tasmania storming out of the gates and getting out to a quick five-point lead, with the offensive momentum of previous games carrying on. The JackJumpers starters were all getting in on the action, sharing the ball in terrific fashion to create an open look. However, the Taipans were not just going to roll over, keeping themselves in the contest, and even rallying behind Nathan Jawai to suprisingly take a three-point lead into the first break after an impressive final few minutes of the period. The JackJumpers started the second term strong, looking to rectify their disappointing finish to the previous quarter, but again in the long run, the Taipans proved too strong. Cairns was able to extend its lead by the main break rolled around, and in a feeling of deja vu, it was behind the efforts of Jawai, with the veteran determined to lead his side to another upset win.
It would be hard to ask for a better quarter from a JackJumpers perspective, with the home team producing one of their best periods of the year in the third. They went on an astounding 16-0 run, with no one player catching fire, as the team found a number of valuable contributors under coach Scott Roth. Suddenly, the seven-point half time defecit into a three quarter time advantage of the same value. The fourth quarter saw some entertaining back and forth action, but neither side could get a real advantage as they traded buckets. Jarrad Weeks delivered the dagger from behind the arc for Tassie, as they rallied behind the home crowd to claim a hard-fought win.
For the JackJumpers, reliable scorer Jack McVeigh led the scoring column with 16 points, but he wasn’t alone. Josh Magette, Josh Adams and MiKyle McIntosh all scored double-digits too, demonstrating how balanced their scoring can be, and how it impacts the result. For the Taipans, Jawai fought his hardest with a crucial 17 points off the bench, but sadly fell short.