Cairns clinch NBL minor premiership

Minor premiers Cairns will play defending champions Perth in one NBL semi-final series with New Zealand Breakers playing Adelaide in the other

Cairns Taipans have bested their big city rivals by becoming the first regional team to win the NBL minor premiership in 31 years.

The Snakes clinched their first NBL minor premiership in style, with a 81-77 win over closest challengers New Zealand Breakers in Auckland on Sunday.

American point guard Scottie Wilbekin scored 25 points and veteran forward Alex Loughton marked his 200th appearance with 22 as Cairns (21-7) logged a ninth win from their last 10 games.

It's the first time since the now defunct Geelong Supercats in 1984, that a regional team has topped the regular season log.

"It's a pretty huge accomplishment for any regional team and for us to do it, we're pretty proud of that for sure," Taipans coach Aaron Fearne told AAP.

They will now meet fourth-placed defending champions Perth in one semi-final series, while the Breakers play third-placed Adelaide, who boast an ever hotter form streak than the Snakes.

Surging Adelaide (17-11) made it 10 straight wins with a 105-85 away victory over bottom of the table Wollongong.

In-form guard Jamar Wilson scored 23 points and Mitch Creek 21 for Adelaide, who shot to a 30-14 quarter-time lead.

Perth, who would have finished third on points differential over Adelaide if the teams had finished on the same win-loss record, fulfilled their part of that equation with a 81-71 home win over Townsville.

Import forward DeAndre Daniels paced Perth with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Ultimately Adelaide's 101-94 home win over Perth on Friday, when Wilson and Brock Motum each scored 25, proved crucial.

The 36ers will fancy their semi-final prospects against the Breakers, who have lost four of their past six matches and needed a long distance buzzer-beater to win one of the other two.

The Breakers, who are 19-9 and chasing a fourth title in five seasons, needed to beat Cairns by 26 points to take first place on points differential.

That never looked likely after Cairns bolted to an early 12-6 lead, sparked by seven quick points from Loughton.

In the other final round game on Sunday, Melbourne scored a 95-92 home win over Sydney, with Mark Worthington heading United's scoresheet with 26.

It came just two days after United had beaten the Kings 91-88 in Sydney and on the same night Townsville won 82-66 at home to Wollongong.

NBL SEMI-FINAL BEST-OF-THREE MATCHES (Dates and venues to be confirmed)


Season record: Cairns 21-7, Perth 16-12

Season head-to-head Cairns 2 Perth 2

Season head-to-head results (home team first):

Perth 84 Cairns 66, round 8

Cairns 91 Perth 76, round 14

Cairns 92 Perth 66, round 16

Perth 65 Cairns 54, round 18


Season record: New Zealand (19-9), Adelaide (17-11)

Season head-to-head New Zealand 2 Adelaide 2

Season head-to-head results (home team first):

NZ 101 Adelaide 80, round 2

Adelaide 93 NZ 86, round 4

Adelaide 74 NZ 81, round 13

NZ 88 Adelaide 93, round 19

Source: AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch