The courageous Cairns Taipans have upset the Gold Coast Blaze 91-82 on Sunday night as top-flight basketball returned to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Rookie import Andrew Warren provided a shooting clinic to stun the Blaze, draining four critical three-pointers in the final term on his way to a game-high 28 points. “I’m extremely proud of the effort tonight … some people in Cairns would have made some coin tonight,” coach Aaron Fearne said, referring to his team’s long odds with the bookmakers. “Fantastic, gutsy, gritty.” Fearne revealed Brad Hill played the game with a badly bruised heel while Dusty Rychart and Aaron Grabau missed large chunks of training during the week through sickness. “It’s a pretty inspirational win, really,” he said. The Blaze also had a disjointed preparation during the week, with coach Joey Wright hospitalised, co-captain James Harvey sidelined with a broken hand and import Mike English sent back to the US. The Taipans capitalised early, taking a 17-11 lead, but Blaze import Will Hudson (16 points, 8 rebounds) dragged his team back within one-point at the first break. Boomer Mark Worthington (13 points, 9 rebounds) converted two three-point plays late in the second quarter, then Adam Gibson and Jason Cadee (12 points) nailed triples to give the Blaze a five-point lead. Just when the home team looked like skipping away a series of fouls, turnovers and costly missed shots handed the Taipans an
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