Construction of Tasmania JackJumpers’ high performance basketball centre held up over red tape

Tasmania’s championship-winning basketball team says it’s open to a re-location of its planned new high-performance facility, as a three-way tug of war over construction intensifies.

The Tasmanian government, who are footing the bill for the build, Glenorchy City Council and JackJumpers basketball team owner Larry Kestelman continue to wrangle over the promised $50 million indoor, multi-sport facility build at Wilkinsons Point in Hobart’s northern suburbs.

Build conditions placed on the development application by the council are the source of the frustrations, with the back-and-forth delaying a start in construction, leaving the JackJumpers without a home base.

The high-performance facility will sit adjacent to Hobart’s Derwent Entertainment Centre.(ABC News: Dan Yeomans)

The red-tape delay has prompted the team to consider a permanent relocation to Kingborough, where it currently trains.

The team’s current arrangement at the Kingborough Sports Centre, 18 kilometres south of Hobart, sees them pay court hire fees and share the use of the facility with local pickleball and futsal teams.

A woman with brown hair and green blazer sitting in front of a trophy

Christine Finnegan says the team want to display their maiden NBL championship trophy at a home base.(ABC News: ABC News)

Centre ‘absolutely freezing’ in winter

JackJumpers chief executive Christine Finnegan told the ABC the existing arrangements were not ideal.

“The facilities aren’t up to professional standards, and I don’t think we’d expect any of our other professional teams to train in facilities that one, they don’t own; and two, that aren’t at the standard our competitors have,” she said.

“The facility in winter is absolutely freezing and I think for a team that is competing with others in professional environments, it puts us on the back foot”.

“We have just won our first NBL trophy for the state of Tasmania and we currently don’t have a place to house it”.

Jack McVeigh training Before Game Four of the final's series

JackJumpers’ Jack McVeigh trains at Kingborough Sports Centre, Kingston.(ABC News: Jake Grant)

Anywhere better than nowhere

The development application for the new indoor multi-sport facility was lodged to the Glenorchy City Council in June last year.

Posted , updated 

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Tasmanians daring to dream as JackJumpers on brink of basketball history

It was the shot that league legends, pundits, fans and even some players have labelled the greatest in the history of the National Basketball League.

But Jack McVeigh’s staggering half-court Hail Mary, which sent the Tasmania JackJumpers into a potential championship decider against Melbourne United, will be quickly forgotten should his team fail to “get the job done”, according to the man himself.

“I’ve received messages from people I haven’t talked to in 10 or 15 years and it’s been awesome,” McVeigh said.

“I’m grateful, but it’s been weird because the shot is irrelevant if we don’t get the job done.”

Jack McVeigh says he has watched a few replays of his shot to “check out the guys’ reaction on the bench” and the fans.(ABC News: Jake Grant)

McVeigh says he’s only watched replays of the shot a handful of times, and rather than focus on the miracle make, his eyes were diverted to teammate and crowd reactions upon the ball hitting the bottom of the basket.

“My phone has pretty much been on silent and chucked under my bed,” he said.

“The night I made it I watched it quite a few times, checking out the guys’ reaction on the bench, the crowd reactions, having a laugh at Mags (Will Magnay) and Drim (Anthony Drmic) on the sideline and him running to take my head off, just enjoying those little moments.”

The 35-footer, assisted magnificently by Milton Doyle in the dying breaths of Sunday’s Game 3, will be etched in Australian basketball folklore should the JackJumpers win one of their next 2 games to claim a stunning maiden title.

A basketball player speaking to media off camera.

Captain Clint Steindl has backed McVeigh’s decision to take the shot, rather than try to advance the ball.(ABC News: Jake Grant)

Captain Clint Steindl says McVeigh’s decision to take the shot, rather than progress the ball or attempt a higher percentage play, was the right call.

“You have to make decisions on the fly,” he said.

“Jack made a decision. He’s done it before. I think everyone knew that Jack was going to shoot it at some point, and I think to look at it now, it’s like ‘good decision, Jack’.”

The rest is history.

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He’s a serial sexual predator who is no longer an Australian citizen. So why hasn’t Tiny Pinder been deported?

An ABC investigation has found authorities missed multiple opportunities to deport an NBL player and serial rapist, despite him sexually abusing and stalking multiple women and girls in Australia.

The revelations come as the federal government continues to grapple with the fallout from a High Court ruling that resulted in the release of dozens of detainees, including convicted murderers and sex offenders, into the community. 

The ABC can now reveal how former Wildcats star Kendal ‘Tiny’ Pinder was permitted by the federal government — and later an independent tribunal — to remain in Australia, despite him using his fame to lure multiple young women whom he sexually abused over decades. 

Pinder was a star recruit for the Wildcats, having played for the Harlem Globetrotters. (Supplied: Facebook)

Pinder was granted Australian citizenship in 1986, even though he had been previously convicted of a sexual offence involving a teenage girl in the United States.

The former Harlem Globetrotter played for three NBL teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s, helping the Perth Wildcats secure their first two championships.

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NBL Round 6: Kings break NZ hearts with late three, Williams leads Phoenix past Tassie, Cotton arcs up as Cats sink Sixers

DJ Hogg’s starring performance and a late three-pointer from Shaun Bruce have sealed the Sydney Kings’ 87-85 win in their NBL grand final rematch with the New Zealand Breakers.

With the Kings down by a point in the final minute of Sunday’s game in Sydney, the ball passed through hands at the top of the arc before finding second-unit guard Bruce.

The 32-year-old let it fly from long-range and the ball bounced up before falling into the rim, forcing an NZ timeout.

Breakers import Anthony Lamb (29 points, seven rebounds) had the chance to tie the scores when he stole the ball from Hogg with 30 seconds remaining but could not get his shot off as he was fouled.  He missed the ensuing two shots from the charity stripe.

Countryman Parker Jackson-Cartwright’s attempt at a buzzer-beater from three also bounced from the rim, thanks to some steely man-to-man defence from Bruce.

The Kings held on for a win that proved just as tight as the sides’ grand final series last season.

Just as they did then, the Kings triumphed, improving to 6-3 to begin Mahmoud Abdelfattah’s first season in charge.

Hogg (18 points, seven rebounds, five assists) celebrated his first home game as a King by leading the scorers for the home side. He hit four threes from eight attempts, including one that gave Sydney a five-point lead at the final change.

The loss renews pressure on a Breakers outfit that snapped a four-game losing streak in their last start, but that has now slumped to 2-5.

Despite the best efforts of ex-NBA forward Lamb, who had 17 first-half points, the Kings maintained the lead for most of the first two quarters. But Tom Abercrombie hit two threes in an 11-1 run to begin the third quarter that put New Zealand back in the fight.

With eight minutes left in the game, Lamb tied the scores at 75 by bursting through the paint for a lay-up that forced a Kings timeout.

Jackson-Cartwright (18 points, five assists) hit a three that gave the Breakers their first lead since the first quarter with just less than seven minutes to play. But that was before Bruce came up clutch late.

Williams guides Phoenix past Tassie

Big man Alan Williams has cemented his status as an NBL MVP favourite by guiding South East Melbourne to a 91-78 defeat of the Cairns Taipans.

The Phoenix led for the majority of Sunday’s game at John Cain Arena but did not appear assured of victory until the final two minutes.

When fellow work-horse Mitch Creek (21 points, 11 rebounds) hit back-to-back baskets after Williams fouled out, the lead was 14 points and South East Melbourne appeared home.

Under new coach Mike Kelly, the Phoenix have won five of their past six games to remain entrenched in the top half of the ladder.

“Huge possession game, the guys did a great job of continuing to attack those O-boards, which was good,” Kelly said.

“They took care of the ball for the most part. It was the little things like that that were key for us.”

When he was fouled pulling down a defensive rebound, Williams (18 points, 15 rebounds) went to the charity stripe to confirm his double-double by half-time. He has three from five games this season. 

On the defensive end, the American blocked Bobi Klintman with 20 seconds left in the third quarter as the talented Next Star looked to cut Cairns’ deficit to three points.

Instead, the Phoenix marched up court where Creek iced a three for an eight-point lead at the final change.

As he did in his side’s last-start loss, Williams ran into foul trouble late on but demonstrated his importance when he came back on to restore a game-high 10 point lead in the final quarter.

Semi-finalists last season, Cairns have lost three of four games since returning from their trip to the USA for the NBA pre-season, including back-to-back games in round six.

The Taipans rued their 65 per cent shooting from the free-throw line and cried out for the composure of injured guard Patrick Miller (back) down the stretch.

“We sucked, we were terrible. Let’s call it for what it is, it was a bad basketball game,” said Taipans coach Adam Forde.

“I think this was the first time we broke a little bit mentally.

“We should be better and we will be better.”

Big man Sam Waardenburg could consider himself lucky not to have fouled out in the third quarter when he remonstrated with the referees following his fourth foul.

Forde hastily substituted him out and the tech foul went on the Cairns bench instead.

But with their leading scorer to that point of the game on the pine, the Taipans began to fall off the pace.

“We’re relying on him unnecessarily at the moment to try and get everybody else going,” Forde said of Waardenburg. 

Guard Tahjere McCall returned from the personal leave he took for the birth of his child in the US but did not hit a field goal until the mid-point of the final quarter.

He had only two assists for the game to go with one from eight shooting from the field.

Cotton bounces back in Cats’ win over Sixers

Bryce Cotton was back to his old self as he lifted the Perth Wildcats to a pressure-easing NBL victory and declared he felt like the three-time MVP winning version of himself for the first time this season.

After his 29-point showing on Saturday night in the 99-88 win over the Adelaide 36ers at RAC Arena, Cotton’s message was simple about his bounce-back performance.

“It feels good, I won’t lie, to have my first game coming out like this,” Cotton said.

“I don’t know who that other guy was wearing my jersey for the first seven games. It feels good to be back.”

Since Cotton joined the Wildcats midway through the 2016-17 NBL season, he has proven an unstoppable force, winning three league MVP awards along with leading Perth to three championships.

However, his start to this season had been anything but up to his usual standards and things hit a precarious point following last Friday’s loss at home to a shorthanded Brisbane Bullets.

Not only was it a fourth consecutive loss for the ‘Cats, but Cotton struggled on 3-of-19 shooting for 10 points and fingers were being pointed in all directions over where the problems stemmed from.

Cotton’s wife, Rachel, venting in defence of her husband on social media didn’t help matters either and it was a long eight days to wait to play arch-rivals the Adelaide 36ers back at RAC Arena.

It might not have been the perfect Wildcats performance as they gave up a 20-point third quarter lead and then had to come from behind to win, but the 99-88 victory steadied things.

Cotton put the team on his back and Hyrum Harris was hugely influential even if his numbers of nine points and six rebounds don’t tell close to the story.

Cotton helped the ‘Cats lead 50-44 by halftime and then to open up a 20-point lead in the third quarter with three bombs from downtown. He ended with 29 points and four assists on 6-of-14 three-point shooting.

The 31-year-old who has now played 208 games with the Wildcats never doubted that his form would return.

“I’ve always been a rhythm player so no matter if I’m in a slump at the moment or whatever, I know all it takes is one shot or given these circumstances, one game for me to find the rhythm,” Cotton said.

“I definitely felt that out there, but credit to my teammates. They did a great job looking for me, setting good screen and helping me get open. It was a great team effort but luckily I was able to capitalise on it.”

The Wildcats take on the league leading Melbourne United on the road on Monday night, who are fresh, fully healthy with the return of Matthew Dellavedova and on a six-game winning run.

Tasmania edge out Bullets in frenetic NBL finish

Softly spoken import Milton Doyle has called for his fair share of free throws after helping the Tasmania JackJumpers to a tense 87-85 NBL win over the Brisbane Bullets. 

The JackJumpers snapped the Bullets’ three-game winning streak and broke a two-game losing run of their own, on Saturday evening in Launceston.

Doyle top-scored with 24 points after a quiet few games – and just seven points in a tight loss to the same opposition six days earlier.  “My goal for this game was to be a little more aggressive,” he said. 

“I watched some clips with the coaches … I got to 10 shots last game and the game before that. My goal was just to get more shots up. I get more shots up, more will go in.” 

After trailing 45-41 at halftime, Tasmania produced their best third quarter of the season with Doyle landing three three-pointers.  Tasmania shot 13/35 three-point attempts, compared to the Bullets’ 2/13. 

In contrast, Brisbane were 25/31 at the free-throw line, while the JackJumpers were just 10/11. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I would appreciate getting some free throws,” Doyle said. “I watch all these guys yell and scream every time somebody touches them. Just because I don’t do that, doesn’t mean I don’t get touched.” 

Tasmania took a 75-66 lead into the last quarter but Brisbane wouldn’t say die, with Tyrell Harrison pulling off a run of six points to reduce the margin to three. Neither team scored in a chaotic end-to-end final two minutes. 

Brisbane’s Mitch Norton missed two free shots during that period while former JackJumper Sam McDaniel couldn’t nail a shot that would have tied the game with mere seconds left.

Bullets coach Justin Schueller said his side at times looked tired playing their fourth game in nine days. 

“But I’m really proud of the fight in the group,” he said. “To hold Tassie to 12 in that last quarter and give ourselves three chances to win the game. There is still some satisfaction in that.”

It was revenge for the JackJumpers, who went down to the Bullets by three points on Sunday and are now 5-4 for the season. Harrison was Brisbane’s highest scorer with 20 points and also picked up eight rebounds. 

Tasmania jumped out of the blocks, reaching 9-0 early before holding a 21-19 margin at the end of the first quarter. The Bullets fought their way to the lead early in the second quarter and got in front by as many as nine points. 

Doyle landed an important three-pointer on the halftime buzzer and then went back-to-back with threes early in the third quarter. Brisbane, who finished second bottom last season with eight wins, have five wins from their first 10 games in 2023-24.

Kings humble Hawks at home

The Sydney Kings have emphatically snapped back to form with a 103-83 thrashing of local rivals the Illawarra Hawks in Wollongong.

The back-to-back reigning NBL champions slid to 4-3 with consecutive losses ahead of Friday’s match but parlayed a 32-18 third-quarter into a gaping victory and a return to the winner’s circle.

“It was great. Guys stepped up,” Kings coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah said.

“It starts on the defensive end, we’ve got to get stops consistently and I thought we did that for good stretches throughout the entire 40 minutes.”

As they have in recent games, the Hawks were left to rue a period of poor shooting from the field that ultimately left them with too much work to do.

In a six-minute stretch either side of half-time, Illawarra landed only two of 13 field goal attempts just as the Kings were getting their eye in.

The lead ballooned from four points to 20 in this period and reached 26 late on before the Kings put their big names on ice.

“The biggest piece right now is guys not being positive when they’re not a part of what’s happening offensively and it kind of pours into our defence,” said Hawks big man Gary Clark.

“At times we have multiple guys who aren’t defensive-minded guys on the court and one little lapse and everything falls apart.”

Tyler Harvey’s struggles with the ball were most pronounced. The Hawks import hit only one of 11 shots from the field for the night.

In total, Sydney made 14 shots from downtown to Illawarra’s five – just one of the statistical areas dominated by the visitors.

The Kings racked up 10 more rebounds (50-40) and 13 more assists (24-11) than their opponents.

Makuach Maluach (16 points, three rebounds) was an unlikely hero from the bench while the game was still close.

“Kudos to him,” Abdelfattah said.

“Honestly without his stretch in that first half, that kind of took the lead from two to eight, who knows where we’d be?”

Maluach shot all of his first six attempts from the field, including four from three-point range, and finished as equal top scorer with import Jaylen Adams. In his second game after a shoulder injury, DJ Hogg (13 points) joined Denzel Valentine as the Kings’ most prolific scorer in the decisive third quarter.

Both had eight points for the period including two baskets each from long range as the Kings piled on the pain.

Clark (23 points, seven rebounds) was once again a shining light for the Hawks but early foul trouble kept his American countryman Justin Robinson (10 points, four assists) quiet until late.

The Kings have now won their last eight games against their cross-town foes. They have also retained the Adrian Hurley Cup by winning the first two of four regular-season games between the NSW rivals this season.

Breakers bounce back to conquer Cairns

The New Zealand Breakers have breathed life into their sputtering NBL campaign with a much-needed 91-81 defeat of the Cairns Taipans in Christchurch.

Staring down the possibility of a 1-5 start, last season’s runners-up cleaned early turnovers out of their game and rode a 30-17 third quarter to victory on Friday night.

Ex-NBA forward Anthony Lamb (game-high 19 points) hit three three-pointers in the space of 90 seconds to help turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 12-point lead at the final change.

The Kiwi side never again trailed.

The win hoists last season’s runners-up from the bottom of the ladder and stops the rot after a campaign start disrupted by injuries and a trip to America for the NBA pre-season.

“It’s fairly satisfying,” Breakers coach Mody Maor said.

“You could see there was a level of connectedness, the way they played. They created for each other. It’s a very good step for us.”

Breakers guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (13 points, seven assists) shook off knee soreness and was influential early in the third term as the Breakers got going.

Benched to begin the game, Boomers representative Will McDowell-White helped stick the boot in late with a three-pointer just after the final change.

He scored 12 of his 14 points in the final term – more than any other Breaker. The Taipans sit at 3-3 ahead of Sunday’s road clash with South East Melbourne.

“The level of disappointment by that team in the locker room right now, you know, they are feeling the loss,” Cairns coach Adam Forde said.

Without Patrick Miller (back injury) and Tahjere McCall (personal leave), the Taipans’ back-court lacked punch.

Highly rated guard Taran Armstrong managed only seven points and one assist on his NBL debut following a foot injury.

“He naturally will critique himself harder than anyone else,” Forde said.

“That was his first hit-out and he’s only going to get better.”

Bul Kuol (18 points, three rebounds) was again a workhorse for Cairns, coming 64 seconds short of playing 40 minutes for a second consecutive game, with Lat Mayen (18 points, seven rebounds) also big.

But they struggled for support, in no small part due to impressive Next Star Bobi Klintman finding himself in foul trouble early. 

Cairns were never able to take full advantage of the Breakers’ lack of size, with American big man Zylan Cheatham out for at least another five weeks.

Mangok Mathiang took on a mountain of work in the post for the Breakers and finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.

“I have high expectations for Mangok and the last two games have been a step in the right direction,” Maor said.

American guard McCall rejoined the Taipans following the birth of his child and is a chance to return against the Phoenix.

“Tahj, from the flight, didn’t pull up that great so there was no point putting him in a high-risk category to hurt himself,” Forde said.

Baynes back from ban to guide Bullets home

Aron Baynes has returned from his NBL suspension with a bang as the Brisbane Bullets posted their season-high score in a 108-92 win over South East Melbourne.

Alan Williams’ foul trouble and Gorjok Gak’s calf injury hurt the Phoenix in a heated encounter at Nissan Arena on Thursday night.

Baynes (12 points, seven rebounds), Tyrell Harrison (14, eight) and Josh Bannan (17, 11) cashed in on the opposing big men’s issues, exerting their influence for the home team.

Baynes started on the bench on his return from a five-game ban over his ugly stoush with the Cairns Taipans in round two.

The NBA championship winner copped an early knock to his left knee, temporarily forcing him to the sidelines, but he was a key figure for Brisbane.

“He was outstanding. He was really able to put them in positions where we were able to draw some fouls on them,” Bullets coach Justin Schueller said.

“Just having the big fella back and his experience, his presence … he was great tonight.

“He’s done it tough while he’s been out, but he’s been a great teammate the whole way, and we couldn’t wait for him to get back.”

Baynes was part of a Brisbane bench that produced a combined 50 points, while a total of seven Bullets finished in double figures.

“That to me is what tonight was about – that we got a real collective effort – and I couldn’t be happier,” Schueller said.

The result was a third straight win for the resurgent Bullets and ended South East Melbourne’s four-game winning streak.

Both teams have 5-4 records heading into their weekend games to complete round six.

In a wild start to Thursday’s contest, opposing stars Nathan Sobey and Williams were both called for unsportsmanlike fouls in separate incidents within two minutes of tip-off.

Williams had three fouls in the first period alone, and Gak’s early injury left the Phoenix undersized.

Baynes and Harrison combined for 21 first-half points to steer the Bullets to a commanding 59-42 lead at the main break. Phoenix guard Gary Browne (25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals) helped cut the deficit to as little as six points during the third period before Brisbane steadied.

Fellow import Williams managed 14 points and seven rebounds, but was walking a fine line after racking up four first-half fouls. He eventually fouled out midway through the final period.

South East Melbourne star Mitch Creek had 20 points, but left plenty on the free-throw line, where he went 7-for-14. The Phoenix collectively shot at a lowly 64 per cent clip from the foul line, frustrating coach Mike Kelly.

“There was no problem with the energy and the fight and the togetherness of the guys,” Kelly said. “But I think we must connect it better and be on the same page more often for us to be a legitimate winning team in this competition.” 


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NBL Round 2: Wildcats claw past 36ers with late three-point barrage, Doyle delivers as JackJumpers upset Kings

Four late three-pointers despite being ice cold all night were enough for the Perth Wildcats to see off the charge of the Adelaide 36ers at RAC Arena for the 82-75 victory.

Despite missing all 14 of their three-point attempts in the first half, Perth were in control of the contest until the winless and under pressure Sixers came out firing in the second half.

They did briefly grab the lead on a couple of occasions led by centre Isaac Humphries (18 points, four rebounds, three assists, three blocks), but it was huge three-point bombs that iced the game for the ‘Cats.

Despite having gone 2-of-23 up to that point, Bryce Cotton and Corey Webster knocked down one each before expected high NBA draft pick Alex Sarr hit two of them to secure the seven-point home win.

Cotton led Perth’s charge again with 19 points and five assists with Sarr adding 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks, and Jordan Usher 16 points and five boards.

Despite fouling out in just 21 and-a-half minutes, Keanu Pinder added 10 points and seven rebounds with Webster scoring 11 crucial points.

Wildcats coach John Rillie was especially with the responsibility his players took after Sunday’s loss to the South East Melbourne Phoenix.

“This was a great week for our team,” Rillie said. “I had several guys let me know through taking their own accountability for their own performance. 

“So when you have guys who take accountability for what they do, I think you have a chance to have a special team.”

Jason Cadee started for Adelaide and delivered 13 points and four assists with Jacob Wiley contributing 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Trey Kell III 10 points, five boards and four assists. Adelaide coach CJ Bruton took the positives heading into Sunday’s road trip to the defending champion Sydney Kings.

“It’s disappointing again not to come away with a win but if I’m being honest, I thought this game was a little better,” Bruton said. 

“We do some things at the right time and we have some brain freezes other times, but I thought our effort and attention to go get it done in the second half was so much better than where it’s been.”

Even without being able to hit from downtown, Perth appeared in cruise control much of the first half going on a 10-0 run in the first quarter on the way to the 28-17 lead after one.

It remained a 13-point game at the half despite the Wildcats missing all 14 of their three-point attempts but the 10 Adelaide turnovers and 16 free-throws to Perth made up for that.

Eventually Cotton hit the first triple for Perth early in the second half but Adelaide had come out motivated staring down the 0-3 start.

A Cadee three-point play gave the Sixers the lead briefly and it was a tight battle the rest of the way, but ultimately it was three-point shots from Perth that sealed the deal. Cotton and Webster hit one each, and then Sarr hit two of them to give the ‘Cats the win.

Doyle propels JackJumpers past Kings

The poise of Milton Doyle and a surge either side of halftime have boosted the Tasmania JackJumpers to a 80-72 victory over NBL defending champions the Sydney Kings, thrilling home fans.

While Next Star Alex Toohey was superb for the Kings with 14 first-half points and returning 2021-22 MVP Jaylen Adams had 14 points in the third quarter, the JackJumpers had more consistent weapons, with Doyle leading the Friday night charge.

Doyle scored 11 of 14 consecutive points for Tasmania either side of half-time at a soldout MyState Bank Arena and the JackJumpers never trailed again despite the threat posed by Adams.

Tasmania went on to win in trademark fashion, having claimed 20 offensive rebounds to take nine extra shots and four more free-throws, while Doyle finished with 21 points and three assists.

New point guard Jordon Crawford had 15 points and four assists for the JackJumpers, with Jack McVeigh contributing 13 points and six rebounds.

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth was delighted with the response from his team after last week’s first-up loss to the Wildcats in Perth.

“It was more what we expect from ourselves in general,” Roth said. “You have to defend if you want to advance into the playoffs and have the chance to do that, and we came back and showed our colours a little better here.

“To start off obviously at home in this situation and to defend the island was our No.1 goal and to start the season with a home victory is really nice.”

There were encouraging signs for the Kings, especially the second-half form of Adams. He finished with 21 points, four assists and three steals.

Jaylin Galloway continued to grow with 11 points while Jonah Bolden contributed 10 points and eight rebounds in his second game for the Kings following their opening win over Illawarra Hawks.

Bolden hadn’t played professionally since a short stint in the NBA at the Phoenix Suns in February, 2020, but is feeling more comfortable every day.

“Coming back to this level, the game moves a little bit faster than you think and I’m dealing with it a lot better now,” he said. “It’s just that mental part of coming back and getting used to playing in a new system that takes some time.”

Sydney led 19-18 after the first quarter, then it was Toohey who got them going in the second. The 19-year-old hit two threes as he scored eight quick points to help the Kings to a five-point edge.

However, Doyle took over from there for Tasmania.

He scored the last eight points of the half and with the JackJumpers hitting six threes for the second quarter, the home team led 48-40 at the break.

Triples from Crawford and Doyle after Sydney turnovers to start the second half and suddenly the JackJumpers were up by 14, but Adams scored 14 points in the rest of the third quarter to keep the visitors within seven.

Threes from Sean Macdonald and Clint Steindl to start the fourth put Tasmania back up by 13 and they saw out the win strongly.

Taipans beat Phoenix after Cook suffers eye injury

The Cairns Taipans are on the board this NBL season after an 87-80 defeat of South East Melbourne Phoenix, who were rocked by an eye injury to import Tyler Cook.

Swedish-born Next Star Bobi Klintman (15 points, 11 rebounds) shone for Cairns as they seized control about the time Cook left the court in Thursday night’s home game.

The Taipans took a one-point lead just before Cook’s injury in the second quarter and never surrendered their advantage, despite the Phoenix putting up a fight early in the fourth.

Taipans import Patrick Miller (23 points, eight assists) was also important in a win that was only confirmed when Lat Mayen hit two threes in the final four minutes to blow out the lead.

“We were playing great defence, following the game plan, doing what coach wanted us to do and we got the ‘W’ (win). It was good,” Klintman said.

Cairns big man Sam Waardenburg accidentally poked Cook in the eye as the American went up for a shot in the minutes before half-time.

The 26-year-old fell down immediately in intense pain and left the court with the assistance of Phoenix staff.  Cook bled from his eye and reacted badly to eye-drops, so he played no further part in the game.

After the match, coach Mike Kelly was unsure as to the severity of his injury. “I know it hurt him enough to not be able to continue,” he said.

Phoenix captain Mitch Creek appeared to question why no foul was paid, despite the contact from Waardenburg.

“I think one of the mosquitoes from Cairns flew in his eye and he’s getting checked out now,” Creek said. “It doesn’t matter what we think, it doesn’t matter what did or didn’t happen. A man’s … in hospital getting checked out for no reason, really.

“It’s unfortunate, we don’t want to see our players hurt.”

Himself an injury replacement for import Alan Williams (knee), Cook went down after Will Cummings copped a knock in the first quarter and left the court bleeding from his mouth. 

Cummings was able to return later in the match, but with Williams, Cook and Craig Moller (virus) missing, the Phoenix were vulnerable to a Klintman-inspired surge.

The Phoenix had started the second quarter on a 10-1 run, but lost Cook during a 9-0 streak the other way.

Klintman, Cairns’ 208cm NBA draft prospect, nailed a corner three in the second quarter and ripped the ball from Rhys Vague’s hands before tearing away to dunk.

“This is why we were desperate to get him here. He ticks so many boxes for us,” said Taipans coach Adam Forde. “It’s just cool that he’s here and we can be part of his journey so when he becomes big-time, we can say we were there for the start.”

Three-pointers to Gary Browne either side of three-quarter time helped pull South East Melbourne to within four points in the final quarter.

Creek (20 points, eight rebounds) was also big for the visitors, but the gap proved too mighty to close. Reuben Te Rangi fouling out in the final quarter certainly did not help either.

The Taipans’ win comes after they fell to the New Zealand Breakers in their first game of the season, while the Phoenix are now 1-2 ahead of Saturday’s clash with Illawarra. 

Sobey shines as Bullets beat Breakers

Nathan Sobey has starred for the Brisbane Bullets in a nailbiting 89-85 defeat of reigning runners-up the New Zealand Breakers, a victory that confirms positive signs for the long-time NBL strugglers.

The Bullets have not made the play-offs since 2019 and finished ninth last season, but are now 2-0 to start Justin Schueller’s tenure as coach after a physical encounter in Auckland.

Sobey pitched in a game-high 24 points on Thursday night, including a memorable dunk that gave the Bullets a four-point lead on the half-time hooter.

The Boomers representative stood up late with six fourth-quarter points, and by the end of the game he was closing in on a double-double with eight rebounds, as well as six assists.

American Chris Smith stepped back for a deep two-pointer in the final 13 seconds that gave the Bullets a four-point lead and sealed the win. “To be 2-0 to start the season feels great for now,” Sobey said.

“We’ll definitely take the wins and keep building from it, but with the group we have we’re not going to be satisfied.

“We’re hungry, we’ve got a group of guys that just want to get better, hang their hats on the defensive end and get out and play the right way and play for each other. That’s the biggest difference (compared to last year).” 

Neither side held a double-digit lead at any point, though the Bullets felt the better team for long stretches. That was especially true in the first half, when the Breakers were sluggish on the offensive end and foul-prone.

Diminutive American guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (20 points, five assists) backed up an impressive NBL debut by keeping the Breakers in the contest early.

His one-two punch with fellow guard Will McDowell-White looks as though it will be crucial for the Breakers this season. The pair combined for almost half of the Breakers’ points on Thursday (39), but Mitch Norton did a great job quelling Jackson-Cartwright’s influence after half-time.

In the end, the Breakers were left to rue gifting the Bullets 20 points from the free-throw line.

“This is indicative of us playing soft on both sides of the court,” said Breakers coach Mody Maor. “We never played with the appropriate intensity. We’re better than this. We didn’t deserve this win.”

The Breakers are 1-1 to start the season and now travel to America for two pre-season games against NBA teams Portland and Utah next week.

Finn Delany missed the loss to Brisbane with a groin issue and is unlikely to feature on the American trip, which Maor said could be a blessing or a curse for the Breakers.


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You can’t find a court to play on thanks to this team’s surprise basketball success

It is no secret that Tasmanians have a new-found love affair with basketball.

Since the Tasmanian JackJumpers entered the National Basketball League in 2021, interest in the sport has skyrocketed.

Each home game, thousands of Tasmanians don their green and yellow to cheer on the team — but the growing fanfare is creating headaches for grassroots basketball clubs.

In the state’s north, the Launceston Basketball Association has seen a 46 per cent increase in the number of players wanting to hit the court since the JackJumpers played their first season.

Association president Craig Gibson said while it was great so many people wanted to play the game, it now had 500 teams — 300 junior and 200 senior — and was struggling to give them all court time.

“We’re very much expecting to not fit everyone in this year,” he said.

“We’ll have to go back to the clubs and tell them, ‘We don’t have the space, you can only have this many teams’, which will mean there’ll be kids that don’t get to play.”

Mr Gibson fears kids may soon be turned away from playing basketball.(ABC News: Manika Champ)

The reason the association is struggling to accommodate the influx of players is court space.

It is a similar situation across the state, with Basketball Tasmania saying the state needs at least 26 new indoor courts to keep up with demand.

Junior basketballer in a red top with a ball running down a basketball court
The number of basketballers wanting to play in Launceston has increased by 46 per cent in the past 18 months.(Supplied: Launceston Basketball Association Facebook)

The Tasmanian government has plans to develop new facilities, but basketball organisations say they are still years away.

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