Cairns Taipans have gone some way to raise hopes their cellar-dweller days are over.
Last season's NBL wooden spooners had little trouble of disposing the NBL1 All-Stars 87-68 on Saturday night.
It was their second victory in Tasmania after tipping in the winner in the last second over Adelaide on Thursday.
Cairns coach Mike Kelly is convinced the club has turned the corner from its tumultuous 6-22 record that was a further six wins behind its closest NBL rival.
"It's a whole new group. We had three guys that were on the roster last year that are back, but a couple of the young players have stepped up from development. So it really is a new group but it has a new feel," Kelly said.
"There is some continuity from some guys returning, but really we now have some young, energetic athletes that have come in and we can feel it's very different."
That energy came from Sudanese-born Australian pair Majok Deng and Kouat Noi, who combined for 35 points.
The two sides went point-for-point initially and, in fact, the All-Stars held onto a four-point lead halfway into the first term at the Silverdome.
Cairns took over until the break on the back of driving play from Noi dropping seven points in his side's run of 15 of the next 19 to pave the way for a 23-16 advantage.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
That just seemed to set the tone for the rest of the half, the Taipans dominance over the semi-professionals too often looking telling.
The All-Stars struggled to get a shot off against a tight defence, no doubt pleasing a reserved Kelly further.
Ex-Boomer Nate Jawai at the other end controlled the boards and nailed big points to guide the Taipans to a 22-point half-time lead.
But the gutsy All-Stars, who were hammered by 49 points in their first game in Ulverstone, showed great resiliency to prevent a blowout in the third quarter.
The 27-19 turnaround narrowed the deficit to 14 points after Isaac Turner added a rush of eight points.
The underdogs nearly got the margin down to single figures in an early play for victory during the last.
But the Taipans wrested the ascendancy in an eight-point run before Deng closed it out with seven more points.
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