Late rally fails to save Snakes' skin
A FURIOUS Aaron Fearne has blasted his team's limp first-half performance, but saved some criticism for himself after the Taipans' latest failure on Saturday night in Cairns.The Snakes slumped to their fourth consecutive loss on their home court 83-76 against the Kings, but not before fighting back in the final quarter to force overtime.
A filthy Fearne dismissed their heroics down the stretch though, saying the damage had been done in an insipid first half that was simply "unacceptable".
"It's unacceptable to come out and play like that. In the situation that we're in, dropping three in a row at home," he said.
"It even makes me more wild that we can come out in the second half and play like that. I just don't understand it, that's the disappointing thing. We should have been walking off the court with nothing left, but it wasn't there. You are not going to get it done playing like that."
Fearne was prepared to shoulder some of the blame, however he could not be held at fault for another poor shooting night (38 per cent from the field), with key players Jamar Wilson and Cameron Tragardh shooting a combined 11 of 30 two-pointers.
"I'm just not doing a good enough job getting them ready. The preparation, the scouting, what we want to do. It's just not good enough from my part right now to get that executed," he said.
The Taipans were out-rebounded 22-11 in the first half and hardly enterprising in offence, as Ben Madgen (29 points) and Corin Henry (15 points, 64 per cent field goals, four assists) had their way with the hosts.
They led 44-32 at the main break and kept a comfortable lead until the final break, when Brad Hill suddenly came to life with 10 quick points to help them towards a lead.
Simple errors meant their momentum was never maintained, and it took a desperate Dusty Rychart tip-in from a missed Jamar Wilson (17 points) lay-up from the final play in regulation to force overtime.
Two turnovers from their first two trips to the basket handed the Kings the upper hand though and Madgen kept calm to drop four crucial points to establish a lead.
With the game won, former Taipan Ian Crosswhite (11 points, seven rebounds) gleefully jammed home an alley-oop to once again leave his old home floor smiling.
His opponent and former co-captain Alex Loughton said it was time the Taipans started practising what they preached.
"We talked about coming out hard all week, really taking back our home floor. All that talk sounds good, but until you actually deliver what you set out to, it's all hot air."
Time and again the Snakes had shots dip out of the hoop when they looked like dropping.
"Yeah look, the ball looked like it was going in, then it rims out, then it taps up, then rims out again. Man, I don't have an answer for that. But we need to replicate the good effort for four quarters instead of coming up with these half-baked efforts," Loughton said.
Fearne was of the same opinion.
"We're not getting it to go, but you make your own luck through 40 minutes of flat-out effort."
Loughton said some players with low minutes needed to lift their game, but Fearne denied he was benching players because of a lack of effort. "No, I'm just trying to coach to win it. Some guys got going and we built momentum so that's the way I went," the coach said.
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Fighting back: Taipan Brad Hill came to life late in the game against the Kings. The Taipans went down 83-76 in their fourth consecutive home court loss. Picture: MIKE WATT