The Cairns Taipans have extended their perfect run in the lead up to the 2016/17 with back to back pre-season victories over Perth in Rockhampton.
The Taipans fielded side with all three of their new imports for the first time allowing them to dominate in both games.
Fans who flocked to Rockhampton’s Hegvold Stadium were treated to a 93-79 Taipans victory, this was backed by with a 89-78 win at CQUniversity’s Sports Stadium.
Coach Aaron Fearne was able to take advantage of the Alex Loughton, Anthony Fisher and Damon Heuir all returning to the team from QBL duties and new import Nnanna Egwu receiving his FIBA clearance which gave him his first look at the complete Taipans roster.
Travis Trice wasted no time in acclimatising to Australian basketball and led the charge for the Snakes from the jump ball. His outstanding play saw him finish with 17 pts (including 3 triples in the first quarter). Despite Trice only recently joining the team he seemed at ease directing the Taipans offence and was very vocal as he displayed the floor general skills he will need to deliver victory once the season begins.
Fuquan Edwin turned heads after scoring 15 points and adding 7 rebounds to his name. Edwin was extremely lively on both ends of the floor showcasing that elite defence his resume promoted. It was also nice to see the ease at which Edwin score, creating his own shots, spotting up from outside and nailing threes… both things which were tough to find on the Taipans roster last season.
It was really a tale of the snakes getting solid contributions from many players along with Trice and Edwin, Mitchell McCarron and Cam Gliddon all finishing in double figures.
Cairns Taipans 93 dft.Perth Wildcats 79
Leading Scorers: Trice 17, Edwin 15, McCarron 12
The second game of the series was a game which showcased a lot of physicality from both teams. Despite a high amount of fouls being called in the game for both teams, the Taipans were able to gel together as a unit and claim victory.
The entire team seemed more acclimated to Coach Fearne’s offence with Cairns having a wide spread of scoring from the team. Stephen Weigh was the only starter to not reach double figures.
Mark Worthington showed why he is renowned as still being one of the league’s toughest players, copping a nasty hit early on from a Perth player yet still delivering 15 points at a nice clip too (5/8 field goals).
Cameron Gliddon (11 points and 4 rebounds) produced what he does on a regular basis, he was also impressive on defence, one-time picking the pocket of Wildcats athletic new star Jaron Johnson and then hitting a three in his face which brought the home crowd to their feet.
Cairns Taipans 89 dft. Perth Wildcats 78
Leading Scorers: Worthington 15, Heuir 14, Trice 13
Damon Heuir is still pushing for that last roster spot on the squad and he did himself no harm on Saturday night after delivering 12 points in the win (8/8 from the foul line).
Cairns will now travel south to face the Melbourne United in a two-game series. Game One is to be played Thursday at the State Basketball Centre (Knox).