No fairytale for Loughton as Sydney edge Cairns in thriller

In a league that encompasses just 28 games per season, NBL players are never going to hit the statistics enjoyed by some of their NBA colleagues across the water. However, for one man, last Monday represented a landmark that is enough to make anyone stand up and take notice. Alex Loughton, the Cairns Taipans’ ever-reliable skipper, took to the court for his 300th start in a career that has gone from strength to strength.

Sydney too strong

The Taipans went into the game with an air of confidence that has been decidedly absent for most of the season. They had just broken a 14-game losing streak with a convincing win over Brisbane as they took on a Sydney team that had shown its vulnerabilities in its loss to Illawarra two days earlier.

Even more importantly, the team wanted to make it a night to remember for its long-serving captain. Loughton would have passed the landmark a week or two earlier had he not been sidelined with an ankle injury, and would otherwise have achieved the magic number in front of his wife and three children, who live in his native Perth. In the event, ten days with his ankle elevated and following the horse racing on UniBet Racing had clearly got the Taipans’ skipper fired up, and he scored twice from long-range to add 10 points to his personal tally for the season.

The Taipans showed moments of that brilliance that got them past Brisbane last week, but the Sydney Kings were always just a few points ahead. It was not till the final term that an upset looked genuinely possible, with the lead changing four times thanks to some aggressive three-point shooting from Melo Trimble. Ultimately, however, the Kings had enough in the tank to hang on and retake top spot in the table, while the Taipans remain firmly embedded at the foot.

A distinguished career

This has been a season to forget for the Taipans, but that should not detract from the achievements of its captain, a man whose passion and talent only seems to increase with each passing year.

Loughton is seen by many of the game’s impartial observers as one of the best and most reliable inside-outside men in the league, and as he passed his 300-game milestone, there was no sign that the 35-year-old needs to consider hanging up his boots any time soon.

Loughton started his NBL journey playing for the wildcats in his home town of Perth in the 2007 season after going undrafted in the NBA. Apart from a brief spell in Spain in 2009-10, he has been part of the NBL furniture ever since.

He joined Cairns in 2010 and in his first season, was instrumental in helping them get to the 2011 Grand Final. Four years later, he was part of the team that won its first ever minor premiership, as well as reaching the Grand Final for a second time.

The Pick and Roll Team

Written by

The Pick and Roll was founded in 2014, and continues to strive to be the best platform for you, when it comes to Australian basketball news and features.

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.