BS Éanna continued their perfect start to the Men’s Super League season with an 87-70 point win over reigning league champions, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors, in Dublin on Saturday evening. The win sees the newly-promoted side as one of just two unbeaten teams left in the league after three rounds of games.
Éanna got off to a flying start, opening up a big 28-13 point lead at the end of the first quarter to see Tralee on the back foot from early on. A big second quarter from both sides followed, with good scoring from Jonathan Lawton helping Tralee to close the gap, but Marko Tomic, Stefan Zecevic and Joshua Wilson led the way for Éanna, seeing the hosts into a 51-39 point lead at the half. Warriors regrouped at the break and despite being without the services of point guard Paul Dick, they had a solid performance from Lawton and a big display from Kieran Donaghy to cut the lead back to 65-56 at the end of the third. Éanna pushed on down the stretch though, with Tomic and Zecevic leading the charge to take home a 17-point win in the end.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Darren McGovern said: “We executed very well in the first half and built a strong lead so they were playing catch up all game. That suited us, as we could find gaps in their defensive pressure, but they kept coming like the true champions they are. At the end of the day, it's three more points on the board and now, we are on to the next one.”
Coughlan C&S Neptune are the only other unbeaten team in the league, taking home a 79-75 point win over UCD Marian in a thriller in Cork. Neptune had firm control of the first half, opening up a 27-15 lead at the end of the first quarter and pushing on to lead 47-30 at half time thanks to good scoring from Nil Sabata Vila, Peter Hoffmann and player/coach, Lehmon Colbert. A much more assured second half from UCD Marian saw Marius Markowicz and Cathal Finn leading the scoring for the visitors to close the gap back to six at the end of the third, 61-55. A nail-biting fourth quarter followed, with Nil Sabata Vila once more to the fore for Neptune, while Finn, Neil Baynes and Markowicz continued to work hard on the offensive end for UCD Marian. Their efforts soon paid off, as Marian tied the score with 90 seconds to go. Strong work on the boards for Neptune though edged them back in front and they held on to win by four in the end.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Lehmon Colbert said: “That was a great win over a great UCD team. The first half, we were playing pretty good on the offensive and defensive end. Then in the second half, Coach Liapakis switched up the defense and it kind of slowed us down a little. They went on a run and were right back in the game. Their game got more physical and intense in the second half and we didn’t match it. We have to address some things this week in training, but over all, a great win. I love the position that we are in.”
Elsewhere, Pyrobel Killester edged Belfast Star 81-73 in Dublin, with Spaniard Tomas Fernandez leading the scoring for the hosts with 24 points. Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin took home a nail-biting overtime win against Maree at home on Saturday evening, winning out by three in the end, 87-84. It was a battle of the Americans on the night, with Killorglin’s Allen Thomas dishing up a superb 36-point display, closely followed by a big 31-point display from Maree’s Darin Johnson. DCU Saints had the better of Moycullen on the road, running out 64-86 point winners in the end while Abbey Seals Dublin Lions ran Griffith College Templeogue extremely close in a big Dublin derby, with Templeogue digging deep down the stretch to win out 96-82 in the end.
In the Women’s Super League, Liffey Celtics took home their first win of the season on Saturday night, running out 91-82 point winners over Pyrobel Killester in a thrilling finish in Leixlip. A massive fourth quarter display from the hosts saw them drive home 35 points in the period, with Irish international Sorcha Tiernan top scoring with 26 points, while fellow Irish international Aine O’Connor and American Kylee Smith combined for 39 points.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Laura Mullally said: "I’m really proud of the team’s effort tonight. We played a well-coached and skilled team and this was a good victory for us in many ways. We had several players make big contributions, we executed down the stretch offensively, we trusted each other and really committed defensively to making multiple efforts until we secured the ball. We will gain confidence from this and will look to continue to build on this performance and keep improving and growing as a team.”
The second game on Saturday evening was a ding-dong battle in Waterford, as Maxol WIT Wildcats made it two wins from two with an 80-77 point win over Fr Mathews. A 22-point game from Irish international Stephanie O’Shea was the stand out display for the hosts. Speaking afterwards, head coach Jillian Hayes stated: “I’m absolutely delighted with the win. I’m super proud of all the girls and their effort and work ethic tonight. Fr Mathews are never an easy opponent, and they showed resilience tonight fighting back at one stage from being 21 points down, but we managed to hold onto the lead.”
Maree made it two wins from two to continue their history-making streak in the Women’s Super League on Sunday afternoon to see them still unbeaten in all competitions since October 2018. They secured a big 61-76 point road win over Singleton SuperValu Brunell in Cork, with American Carly McClendon to the fore, top scoring with 23 points, and good work from Fiona Scally and Claire Rockall helping see home the win. Ambassador UCC Glanmire got their first win of the season on the board on Sunday running out 99-57 point winners over IT Carlow Basketball. Aine McKenna led the way for the Cork side once more, hitting a big 21 points in the game, and this tally was matched by American Shrita Parker, who hit her stride early on. The final game of the weekend saw DCU Mercy also go two wins from two, winning out 73-55 over Marble City Hawks in Dublin on Sunday afternoon. American Ashley Russell led the way with a big 32-point game.