Cairns Taipans on treacherous ground
THERE is no immediate answer to the Taipans' offensive troubles, according to coach Aaron Fearne, who is just hoping the ball starts finding the hoop before their NBL finals hopes fly out the window.
The Snakes let slip a 16-point lead against Wollongong Hawks to lose 73-59 on Saturday night, putting them third last only in front of struggling Melbourne and Townsville.
Now three wins outside the top four on 3-5, there is real risk of them disappearing from the equation before Christmas.
Their away game was a microcosm of the season to date, with some good, some bad and some ugly in their 40 minutes on court. And it was the third time they scored less than 60 and the fourth tally of less than 70 in eight games this year.
"I can't fault the effort, we just need to start putting the ball in the hole," Fearne said.
"We just couldn't do that on the night and couldn't turn the momentum around."
Despite recruiting offensive weapon Cameron Tragardh and noted shooters Cam Gliddon and Clint Steindl, the Taipans have again found themselves as the side that restrict rivals to small totals but still lose.
But Fearne said he was almost expecting it from his new-look team.
"Yeah I did. I think history shows that when you put a lot of talent on the floor it takes time (to become effective)," he said.
"All we can do is keep working hard, but we need to get back in the winner's circle soon."
One positive from the game was Alex Loughton's 14 points, but he was the only Taipan to reach double figures despite all of them scoring and looking good at various stages.
"Everyone had their moments, but there were plenty of bad moments too," Fearne quipped.
Poise and precision were again lacking down the stretch while a shooting percentage of about 30 per cent did not help either as a hefty three-quarter-time lead evaporated.
Adris Deleon was the architect for the hosts, finishing with 21 points and the small but loyal crowd were in the palm of his hand. "We couldn't take the crowd out of it like we had done in the first half," Fearne said.
Their next challenge is Sydney on Friday night, who will return to Cairns after inflicting heartbreak from "that" defeat of less than a month ago.
* In the FNQ Super League, Phoenix continued their undefeated start to the season, beating the All Stars 91-77.
Former Taipan Dwayne Vale won player of the week honours for his 36 points, while All Star Justin Soleimani had 23.
Redlynch stayed unbeaten too, beating Saints 97-73, while Mulgrave beat the Timberwolves 101-96.
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Hopes fading: Taipans coach Aaron Fearne is hoping his team can find their stride this season before it's too late.