Wollongong won just its third game of the 2013/14 NBL season by defeating the Kings at the WIN Entertainment Centre 73-69 while at the Cairns Convention Centre, the Taipans snapped a seven-game losing run by beating a tired 36ers line-up 98-78.
While Cairns winning on the same night meant that Wollongong didn’t climb off the bottom of the NBL ladder, the win at home over the Kings was still a crucial one and was set up by 27 points from import guard Rotnei Clarke.
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was a heated NSW derby as usual between Wollongong and Sydney with the Hawks doing just enough to prevail in the finish.
Clarke was the star with27 points on the back of 9-of-18 shooting from the field and 4-of-9 from three-point territory.
Rhys Martin also had 13 points for the Hawks with Kevin Tiggs adding 12 and Dave Gruber four to go with eight rebounds.
Centre Larry Davidson made a welcome return for Wollongong and contributed eight points and four rebounds in almost 25 minutes of court time.
Star Sydney import Sam Young top-scored for the Kings with 16 points and four rebounds before fouling out late in the contest.
Ben Madgen added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for Sydney with Charles Carmouche scoring 13 points, Tom Garlepp 11 and AJ Ogilvy seven with the big man also pulling in 10 rebounds and blocking four shots.
Cairns took advantage of an Adelaide team that had just played, and lost, in Townsville 24 hours earlier with the dreaded Sunshine Swing leaving the previously on-fire Sixers winless and slipping to an 8-4 record on the season to now be three games behind the ladder-leading Perth Wildcats.
The 36ers had won six straight matches before the weekend, including becoming the only team to beat the Wildcats, but now the two losses on consecutive nights to the Crocs and Taipans leaves them somewhat vulnerable again in second position.
However, Cairns has no concerns about what it meant for Adelaide with the Taipans just delighted to get back on the winner's list after a horror seven-game losing slide.
Cairns came into the new season with high hopes of a big campaign with the signings of Demetri McCamey, Stephen Weigh and Matt Burston added to the remaining Jamar Wilson, Alex Loughton, Cam Tragardh, Cameron Gliddon and Clint Steindl.
The Taipans then won the first two games of the season but then went on to lose the next seven, including three in Cairns, before bouncing back in style by 20 points against Adelaide.
Cairns gained control of the game the longer the contest went and it ended up blowing out in the finish to the 20-point margin.
Point guard Wilson was the star of the night for the Taipans finishing with a season-best 30 points, five rebounds and four assists while shooting 9-of-14 from the field.
He also did well driving to the basket drawing 11 fouls and nailing 12-of-12 from the charity stripe.
The experienced Loughton also had a good night for the Taipans with 20 points largely on the back of nailing four three-pointers.
Weigh added eight points and eight rebounds against his former team with McCamey also adding eight points and eight boards. Clint Steindl had nine points, two rebounds and two assists as well.
Adelaide captain Adam Gibson did all he could for his team with 20 points while hitting 3-of-5 from three-point territory.
Daniel Johnson scored 12 points and pulled in five rebounds with Jason Cadee adding 11 points. BJ Anthony finished with eight points and eight rebounds, Anthony Petrie eight points and seven boards and Luke Schenscher seven points and six rebounds.
MVP candidate Gary Ervin had a night to forget with six points, four rebounds and two assists to go with five turnovers and shooting just 2-of-11 from the field.
Round 9 of the NBL will conclude on Sunday afternoon with the Melbourne Tigers hosting the New Zealand Breakers at The Cage.