Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin took home a massive 79-74 point victory over neighbours Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in the big Kerry derby on Saturday evening, to leave the race at the top of the Men's Super League wide open with six teams now tied at the top on 15 points.
A huge opening half from the hosts saw Allan Thomas dominating offensively to push them into a big 46-23 point lead. Warriors started the third quarter rejuvenated though, with Paul Dick leading the charge to cut into the Killorglin lead, but strong scoring from Thomas, Colin O’Reilly and Rami Ghanem kept Killorglin's noses in front, 56-47 going into the last. Momentum swayed in Tralee’s favour as the fourth got underway, with Keith Jumper and Ivan Bogdanovic making big plays, to edge them into their first lead of the game. Killorglin regrouped quickly though, with big composure from player/coach O’Reilly down the stretch to keep his side just in front at the death, and win out 79-74.
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Speaking afterwards, O’Reilly commented: “It was a great win, but not a pretty game in the second half. We jumped on them in the first half, they came out and upped their intensity in the second half and it was a very scrappy game – our free throws probably won it in the end. It was a win we needed at home, after what Tralee did to us in the Cup. We had an extra 5% or 10% in us. This is a huge win for us and it has been coming, we have been performing really well and we have won four out of our last five games and we are in a decent position now in the league compared to this time two weeks ago. It is going to give the lads a lot of confidence.”
Belfast Star picked up a key road victory on Saturday evening taking a 71-84 point win over DBS Éanna in Dublin. A superb first quarter display from the visitors saw them into a 16-27 lead, thanks to brilliant scoring from CJ Fulton, who went on to finish the game with 24 points in another superb display by the young Irish international. DBS Éanna battled back in style though in a second quarter that was led by Stefan Zecevic and good scoring from Marko Tomic to close the gap back to 38-42 at the half. Belfast Star managed to push on again in the third, with Ben Marello and Fulton leading the charge, while Liam Pettigrew was to the fore defensively, to give them a 49-62 point cushion going into the last. Éanna were not finished battling though and Zecevic continued to shine in the fourth – hitting a game high tally of 31 points. Star just had too much though and ran out 71-84 point winners in the end.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Adrian Fulton said: “We are obviously delighted with the road win. Éanna have been terrific this season. They are a very talented and well-coached team and we knew that we had to put in a really good performance tonight to stand any chance. Thankfully, we probably played the best we have played all year. There were lots of very good performances as we were giving up quite a bit of size tonight.”
Pyrobel Killester ground out an 87-70 point win at home against Maree on Saturday evening, but were pushed out all the way to the final buzzer by the visitors. Good scoring from Mintautas Bulanovas for the hosts and a strong display from Tomas Fernandez helped Killester over the line, while Isaac Westbrooks and Ciaran Roe combined for some good scores on the night. Maree’s Darin Johnson was once more to the fore, finishing the game out with 26 points, but despite his best efforts the Dubliners had too much in the end. Griffith College Templeogue managed to hold out under substantial pressure from DCU Saints to secure an 85-76 point home win. Jason Killeen led the way – finishing the game out with 21 points - and his contribution, along with good scoring from Puff Summers and Neil Randolph pushed Templeogue to victory.
UCD Marian hosted Abbey Seals Dublin Lions in a big derby game on Saturday evening. A closely contested first half saw Lions lead the way 33-28 at half time. UCD Marian regrouped well during the break though, and led by the experience of Barry Drumm and Mike Garrow, rallied them back to lead 62-60 going into the lasts, and pushed on from there to win 82-75 in the end. Coughlan C&S Neptune got back to winning ways with a 68-71 win on the road to Moycullen in a thriller. A huge display from Lehmon Colbert down the stretch helped his side to victory in the end. Moycullen put in a strong display on the night, leading 37-30 at the half through great work from Grant Olsson and Joseph Tummon. The hosts still held the lead going into the last 57-50, but a purple patch from Neptune in the fourth swung the game in their favour, with Colbert and Cian Heaphy running in some big scores to push them into the lead, and they held on to win by three in a nail-biting finish.
Over in the Women's Super League meanwhile, Pyrobel Killester held on at the death to secure a big home victory against Maree on Saturday evening, 74-71, to see the top of the Women’s Super League table remain neck-in-neck. It was nip and tuck between the sides throughout the first half, with Killester just edging it at the break, 29-27. A superb display from Killester’s Christa Reed caused multiple problems for the Maree defence as the third quarter got underway and despite good work from Carol McCarthy and Claire Rockall, Killester had opened up a 59-50 point lead going into the last. A big push from the visitors in the fourth though saw them close the gap back down to leave the result in the melting pot. Big scores from Aine McDonagh and Fiona Scally for the visitors kept the board ticking over, but Reed and Aisling McCann stepped up for Killester, and held their cool to secure the win.
Speaking afterwards, a relieved Karl Kilbride stated: “We are delighted with the win. We did a really poor job with defensive rebounding and Maree did an excellent job with offensive rebounding. We couldn’t control the boards in the first half, which meant we couldn’t get out and run. This left us very stagnant on offence, although we were getting most of the looks we wanted, but the ball wasn’t dropping. In the third quarter, we hit a lot of threes that came from transition and us getting stops and I’m delighted how we were able to turn the defensive end up things around in the second half. Obviously, we didn’t close the game out as comfortably as we would have liked. We were up seven with two and a half minutes left, but some silly and uncharacteristic turnovers let Maree back in. We got stops in the end and more importantly in the last few possessions we got rebounds which meant we didn’t give up second chance points and that was effectively the difference in the game.”
Fr Mathews delivered Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics with their second consecutive home loss on Saturday, taking home a 61-73 point win. Grainne Dwyer led the charge for the visitors, finishing the game with 21 points and that, along with good work from Shannon Brady and Chantell Alford, was ultimately the difference on the night. Speaking afterwards, Mathews' coach, James Fleming said: "I’m very happy with the win, Liffey is always a tough place to go and get a win. We worked a lot last week in training on things that didn’t go right for us against DCU and I thought the team carried out the game plan really well. We’re a work in progress and we’ve another tough game on the road next week against a very well drilled and coached Maree team.”
DCU Mercy remain unbeaten yet again this weekend, as they ran out 79-69 point winners over Brunell in Dublin on Sunday afternoon. Meredith Burkhall and Ashley Russell led the way for the league leaders and despite a stand out display from Brunell’s Treyanna Clay, Mercy powered home to win. Ambassador UCC Glanmire were also impressive on Sunday, taking home an 86-76 point win over Maxol WIT Wildcats in Cork. Shrita Parker and Aine McKenna led the scoring for Glanmire as they picked up another big league win.
IT Carlow Basketball scooped their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they overcame Marble City Hawks 68-41 in a key bottom of the table clash. The game was neck-in-neck throughout the opening two quarters, with good scoring from Kaitlyn Slagus for Carlow matched by hard work from Cassidy Williams of Hawks to see just two in it at the half, Carlow leading 31-29. A big push in the third quarter from Carlow though saw Slagus and Alyssa Velles to the fore and they ultimately combined for 44 points to give Carlow a 10-point cushion going into the last. Despite a big defensive effort from Hawks down the stretch, Carlow pushed on to win 68-41 in the end and get some vital points on the board.