Tassie tame Taipans at the buzzer with McVeigh magic

IN another exciting round of National Basketball League (NBL) action, the Tasmania JackJumpers claimed one of the most exciting wins of the year, as Jack McVeigh nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to sink the Cairns Taipans.

In the first of Saturday’s games, both teams were coming off a loss on Thursday, and were eager to get back on the winners’ list and keep in touch with the likes of Melbourne United and the Sydney Kings. One advantage on Cairns’ side was home court advantage, with the match set to take place at the Cairns Convention Centre, with Taipans fans sure to give their team a massive boost with a vocal presence.

It was a tight match from start to finish, with the margin never reaching match-breaking point. In the end, the two teams could not be separated during regular time, and the close nature of the game stretched into extra time, with both sides going blow for blow in an exciting affair. A second period of overtime looked certain when Cairns guard Tahjere McCall stormed to the hoop and tied things up at 87 apiece, before Tasmania claimed a three-point win in the most dramatic of fashion.

With no timeouts remaining, the JackJumpers were forced to inbound the ball from underneath the opposition’s basket, needing to get up the court in time to produce a good look. Also making life difficult was the fact that star Tassie guard Milton Doyle had fouled out. Doyle had been the closer for the JackJumpers in late game situations, proving a match-winner on a number of occasions, but Tasmania needed to find a different avenue to scoring. Jordan Crawford had scored the previous 10 points in overtime for Tasmania, but received some close checking with the game on the line. Cairns had done its homework and looked to shut down the damaging point guard on the final possession.

The ball was passed to McVeigh, who took the ball up the court, before handing the ball off to Will Magnay. Given Magnay’s dominance inside and lack of floor spacing, it seemed unlikely he was going to pull up for three, so the defence backed off.

Unfortunately for the Taipans, it was a set play, with Magnay immediately passing the ball back to his teammate, creating space for McVeigh to get a decent (albeit deep) look at the basket, after the defence was drawn in at the top of the perimeter. Instead, McVeigh caught the ball a few feet behind the arc, and fired up a deep triple. The ball found the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded, sealing a remarkable win for the JackJumpers in a hard-fought affair against a valiant Cairns side.

It was the perfect way to cap off a strong night from McVeigh, with the Tassie forward proving his side’s best player. With Doyle only playing 16 minutes, the ball was passed through McVeigh much more frequently, and he delivered in a big way. He finished the night with 24 points, and the most important basket of the night.

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