BASKETBALL: It was meant to be a Snake celebration but it turned into a New Year's Eve nightmare for the Cairns Taipans.
The Perth Wildcats silenced the biggest Taipans crowd of the season from the opening minutes and controlled the game from then on.
The Taipans' hierarchy fought hard to get their coveted New Year's Eve showpiece game back this season but the only problem was the team failed to show up in the opening two terms as Perth scored whenever they pleased.
Cairns added some respectability to the scoreline in the second half but the damage was already done as the Wildcats cruised to a 68-83 victory.
The defeat, the club's second of the round, complicates the Taipans' finals dreams as they sit at 8-11 with nine games to play in the regular season, with six of those remaining matches away from home.
The men in orange were just a step behind the rampaging Wildcats as Perth got out and ran whenever they wanted, with high-flying pair Bryce Cotton (23 points) and Jean-Pierre Tokoto instrumental.
Perth superstar Cotton was in an ominous mood from the outset with the reigning grand final MVP notching up 13 points inside the first term. The Taipans guards had no answers for him.
Skipper Cameron Gliddon (14 points) can hold his head high as he continued to attack despite being under siege and often took on the difficult defensive assignments.
Evergreen veteran Alex Loughton battled hard for four quarters against the bigger Wildcats as his 10 third-quarter points kept the Snakes within striking distance.
Loughton (23 points) brought the deficit back to five midway through the final term but the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run straight after to kill off any Snakes hopes.
Former Taipan Clint Steindl also had a night to remember back in Cairns as he drilled three triples on the way to 11 points from the bench.
The Taipans host the Brisbane Bullets on Friday night at home.
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