Daniel Vila was the hero for Moycullen on Saturday evening as he slotted home a baseline inbound with 2.4 seconds on the clock to send his side into overtime and ultimately, on the road to a big victory over Belfast Star.
Vila’s score tied the game up at 78 points apiece, much to the delight of the big home crowd, and with overtime on the cards, Moycullen dug deep to win out 96-89 in the end, behind superb scoring from James Connaire (26 points), Conor Curran (20) and Vila, who finished the game out with 16. Star had standout performances from Delaney Blaylock – who finished out with a whopping 39 points - along with solid displays from Aidan Quinn and CJ Fulton – but Moycullen had the edge in overtime and put in a stunning five minutes to win out 96-89.
Speaking afterwards, head coach John Cunningham said: “That was a super win. We’ve always said that every game is winnable, and we proved it tonight. The lads did a great job of making shots and when we make shots, we’re a match for anybody. I think the U20 Cup win gave us momentum and hopefully we’ll carry that through to next week again.”
It also took overtime to separate Coughlan C&S Neptune and DBS Éanna in Cork on Saturday evening, with Lehmon Colbert’s charges driving on to win, 112-107, in a thriller at Neptune Stadium. Neptune started out the game in superb fashion, opening up a 29-19 point end of quarter lead in the first, following some great scoring from Colbert and Gary Walsh. Éanna regrouped quickly in the second though, and with star player, Stefan Zecevic leading the charge, began to quickly cut into the lead, to tie the game level at 49 points each at half time. Neptune bounced back well in the third quarter though, with Colbert causing big problems under the boards, while Kyle Hosford and Walsh added some key scores but massive shooting from Éanna’s Zecevic, Wilson and Lynch – who combined for a big 62 points on the night – throughout the fourth saw them send the game to overtime. A huge extra period followed, but Neptune held firm to win out 112-107.
Cup champions Griffith College Templeogue lost out at the death to Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in a thriller in Dublin meanwhile, going down by just one point, 81-82, in a cracking finish. A superb start from Warriors saw them open up an early lead by the midway point of the first quarter, but Lorcan Murphy soon settled the hosts and a huge blitz of scoring as the quarter ticked down saw the Dubliners lead 29-17. The hosts kept the momentum into the second quarter, to lead at the half, 44-33. A huge third quarter from Warriors followed, with Paul Dick and Ivan Bogdanovic to the fore, while strong play from Daniel Jokubaitis helped momentum shift in Warriors’ favour to make it 68-68 going into the last. A neck-in-neck fourth quarter followed, and huge plays from Bogdanovic, Paul Dick and Jokubaitis were key for Tralee as Templeogue kept the pressure up. Two big scores from Templeogue left the game on a knife edge as the final seconds ticked down, Tralee leading by just one, 81-82, but the visitors managed to hold on at the death and take home victory.
Keanes Supervalu Killorglin also dished up a thriller against DCU Saints, winning out in nail-biting fashion, 79-77, thanks to a late Rami Ghanem bucket. Ghanem, Darragh Jones and Colin O’Reilly lead the way for the hosts throughout the opening half, while strong scoring from Saint’s Kevin Lacey and Mike Bonaparte kept them within five at the break, Killorglin leading 38-33. A big start to the third from Saints though saw Marcus Black off the bench for the Dubliners and he made an immediate impact, draining back-to-back threes and they kept the scoring up to lead 58-62 going into the last. DCU followed up with an 8-0 run in the fourth and it looked like they’d done enough to put some space between the sides, but a timely time out from O’Reilly saw Killorglin come back with an 8-0 run of their own to lead 73-72 with less than four minutes to go, and despite big scores from Saints, Ghanem slotted home the game winner in style to win 79-77.
UCD Marian also secured a big win at home on Saturday evening, running out 22-point winners over Maree, 78-56. A massive first quarter from the hosts paved the way for their victory, as they opened up a big 35-6 end of quarter lead thanks to superb scoring from Aidan Dunne and Neil Baynes. Maree bounced back well in the second quarter, but had a big mountain to climb and despite good work from Oriol Balsells Plaza and Paul Freeman, Marian still led the way 48-22 at the half. The Dubliners pushed on again in the third quarter, with Dunne, Mike Garrow and Baynes all knocking down some big scores, and despite good play from the Galway outfit, the damage had already been done and UCD ran out 78-56 point winners in the end. A big fourth quarter from Pyrobel Killester saw them edge out Abbey Seals Dublin Lions 72-60 in their derby Saturday evening. A superb display from Finn Hughes and James Gormley for Dublin Lions had them into a four-point lead going into the final quarter, but Killester dug deep and big work from Isaac Westbrooks, Ciaran Roe, Alan Casey and Kason Harrell saw them home to victory.
In the Women’s Super League, cup champions Pyrobel Killester also had to dig deep in the fourth quarter to hold off the challenge of Maxol WIT Wildcats on Saturday evening in a thrilling 86-77 home win. Killester were led by superb displays from Christa Reed and Rebecca Nagle in particular, and a strong first half from the hosts saw them into a 47-39 point lead at the break. Wildcats dug deep though, and a big third quarter followed with Jasmine Walker, Helena Rohan and Cathy Kavanagh all causing big damage, the latter in particular working hard under the boards, and the game was back to a one-point affair going into the last. A switch up on defense from the Dubliners in the fourth quarter though paid dividends immediately as Wildcats struggled to get the shots they wanted against a tough zone. Reed and Adella Randle El stepped up to score down the stretch for Karl Kilbride's charges and they did enough to push on to take home the win.
Speaking afterwards, a relieved Karl Kilbride stated: “We had a fairly bright start going 14 points up and credit to Wildcats, they were short handed and, as they always do, they killed us on the boards and rebounded really well. We were disappointed, we probably should have been up more at half time. In the third quarter, Wildcats were excellent: they killed us on the boards and scored in transition. In the fourth quarter we went zone and did a lot better job at communicating at the back of the defence and were able to hold Wildcats to contested shots and that let us out to score in transition. I thought we did a really good job moving the ball on offence against a really good defensive team, and I'm just really happy with the result.”
Down in Cork, Fr Mathews overcame Ambassador UCC Glanmire in their big derby clash on Saturday, running out 86-68 point winners. Chantell Alford, Grainne Dwyer and Shannon Brady were to the fore for Fr Mathews, combining for 63 points. Fr Mathews earned an early lead 48-40 at the half, despite strong scoring from Glanmire's Aine McKenna and Shrita Parker. Fr Mathews really hit their stride in the second half, getting multiple stops and some big scores to see them win out well in the end.
Maree also scooped a big home win Saturday evening, as they overcame Marble City Hawks 75-48 in Galway to keep their spot in second place on the league table. Maree dominated the early exchanges, with scoring from Claire Rockall and Alison Blaney to see them lead, 36-24 at the half. Hawks showed balanced scoring throughout with Katie Fox and Aine and Shelia Sheehy all hitting double figures, but the third and fourth quarters saw momentum firmly with Maree and they had too much for Hawks in the end, running out comfortable 75-48 point winners.
Singleton SuperValu Brunell ran Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics very close in Cork on Sunday afternoon, losing out by just six in the end, 62-68. A close first half saw big scoring on both ends of the floor, with Greta Tamasanskaite, Treyanna Clay and Aryn McClure to the fore for the hosts, while Americans Jaiamoni Welch Coleman and Brianna Green led the charge for Liffey, to see them into a six-point half time lead. A big third quarter followed, with Sinead O’Reilly and Aine O’Connor proving to be one of the great match ups under the boards, but Liffey still held the lead going into the last and despite a big push from Brunell, they held on to win 62-68.
League leaders DCU Mercy were also in action on Sunday, and remain top of the table this evening thanks to a 73-59 point win over IT Carlow Basketball in Dublin. A huge performance for Irish underage international star, Rachel Huijsdens, saw her lead the way with 21 points for Mark Ingle’s side as they opened up a 42-37 point lead at the half. Kaitlyn Slagus and Alyssa Velles were in impressive form for Carlow though and a huge third quarter display from them saw the visitors trail by just seven going into the last, 58-51. Mercy dug deep in the final quarter, with a massive defensive display holding Carlow to just eight points in the period, while offensively, Huijsdens, Sarah Woods, Ashley Russell and Meredith Burkhall all made their mark, to win out 73-59 in the end.