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RECAP: Neil Randolph The Hero As Templeogue Win Thriller Over Éanna

RECAP: Neil Randolph The Hero As Templeogue Win Thriller Over Éanna
By Balls Team
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Another action-packed weekend of Super League basketball saw three games decided in overtime, while Griffith College Templeogue and DBS Éanna dished up a thriller in Dublin to open the entire league right up.

Neil Randolph was the hero for Griffith College Templeogue on Saturday evening as he delivered three dagger three-pointers down the stretch to see his side home to a 101-87 point win over DBS Éanna. Indeed, the final scoreline doesn’t truly reflect the nature of the game, as it was right in the melting pot until the final two minutes, until Randolph delivered the killer blows. It was neck-in-neck throughout the full four quarters, with Jason Killeen and Randolph two of the standouts for Templeogue, while young guard Kris Arcilla also impressed on the night. At the other end, it was Joshua Wilson and Stefan Zecevic who drove Éanna on, dictating their offense from early on to cause 50 points worth of damage. It was Templeogue’s night though in the end, with Randolph’s threes ultimately the difference down the stretch for the hosts. This was Templeogue’s second win of the weekend, having seen of the challenge of UCD Marian 85-68 on Thursday evening.

“That was a massive win,” said head coach Mark Keenan afterwards. “I have to say both teams threw up a great game. Fair play to Éanna, the way they played tonight showed why they are where they are in the league. It was nip and tuck – we thought we’d get a break away in the third, we were seven up and then they got it back level. What more could you ask for down the stretch when it’s all tight than for one of your best shooters to come up with a big few threes, so it just made that last minute and a half that bit more comfortable. I’m thrilled for the guys, it was a big weekend with the game Thursday and today and that win shakes up the league now again.”

Down in Tralee meanwhile, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors won out their top of the table clash against Coughlan C&S Neptune, 98-76. A high scoring first quarter saw Warriors take an eight-point lead early on, with Jonathan Lawton and Paul Dick leading the charge. They pushed on in the second to open up a 10-point lead at the half, but it was the third quarter where the damage was done, with Warriors locking down defensively and running in 27 points. Despite good work from Neptune’s James Hannigan, Cian Heaphy and Lehmon Colbert, scores from Lawton and Rapolas Buivydas helped keep Warriors out in front and they ran out 22-point winners in the end.

It took overtime to separate both Maree and Abbey Seals Dublin Lions and UCD Marian and Killester. Trailing 57-62 going into the last, UCD dug deep in the fourth to bring the game right back into the melting pot and Mike Garrow tied the game up for UCD Marian at the death, dunking home a big inbound play in the closing six seconds to tie the game at 82 points each and send the game to overtime. Momentum stayed with UCD in the overtime period, as they stretched into a 92-83 point lead with just over three minutes played, as Garrow continued to dominate – finishing the game with 32 points – to win out 97-83 in the end. Down in Galway meanwhile, Maree and Lions finished on 76 points apiece at full time after a ding-dong battle. Lions led the game for three of the four quarters, with Ramonn Nelson and Conroy Baltimore two of the stand outs, but Maree were always right there with them throughout and dug deep in the fourth quarter to level the game up, with Darin Johnson, Kenneth Hansberry and Eoin Rockall all getting some key scores. The overtime period was just as thrilling, with Rockall and Hansberry key to Maree’s win in the end, 87-84.

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Belfast Star continued their strong league form at home on Saturday evening, running out 85-69 point winners over DCU Saints. Americans Delaney Blaylock and Ben Marello as well as star guard CJ Fulton led the charge for the hosts as they opened up a 39-26 point half time lead and didn’t look back from there. Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin and Moycullen dished up a thriller in Kerry on Saturday evening, with the hosts just pipping it at the death, 87-84. It was an extremely close game throughout, with Grant Olsson chipping in with a 32-point game for the visitors. Allan Thomas was the standout for Killorglin on the night though, finishing the game with 28 points, and was also on hand to hit the game-winning three pointer in the closing seconds.

In a weekend full of overtime games, an extra period was also need to separate Marble City Hawks and Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics in a Women’s Super League thriller in Kilkenny on Saturday evening. However, a first win of the season still remains elusive for the hosts as Celtics powered on in overtime to win out 55-67 in the end behind a stunning display from Kylee Smith. Liffey had the better of the opening half, with Smith, Ailbhe O’Connor and Niamh Masterson all impressing. However, Hawks were only getting started and Elaine Kennington and Cassidy Williams began to assert their authority as the clock wound down, and by full time, the game was tied at 51 points apiece. Liffey took charge of the overtime period though, with Kylee Smith firmly taking the reins of the game and finished out with 32 points as she helped her side home to victory.

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Speaking afterwards, head coach Laura Mullally stated: "I’m very happy with tonight's road win. Kilkenny played extremely hard and made things challenging, but I thought we were able to find a way to execute in the fourth quarter and in overtime. This was a fun, close competitive game and pressure situations are what it’s all about. Wins like this are what help the team grow, improve and move forward in preparation for next week."

Fr Mathews and Pyrobel Killester met for a second time in seven days on Saturday evening, this time in Cork, and the game certainly lived up to its billing with the result in the melting pot right up until the closing 40 seconds. Mathews edged a three-point lead at the half, with Amy Murphy and Shannon Brady to the fore. A strong defensive display from Killester in the second half though saw them hold the hosts to 22 points for the final two quarters. Despite Mathews holding a seven-point lead going into the last, a solid display from Adella Randle El and Christa Reed as well as good work from Jenna Howe and Aisling McCann pushed Killester into the lead and they drove on from there to a 55-63 point victory.

DCU Mercy remain just ahead of the chasing pack at the top of the table after the weekend, as they put in a superb second half display to overcome Ambassador UCC Glanmire in a top of the table clash, 85-72. Meredith Burkhall was in dazzling form for the hosts, and was key to them stretching out into the lead in the third quarter as, after leading by just four at the half, Mercy stepped up their defensive pressure in the third quarter and Burkhall was on hand to punish at the other end to finish the game out with 34 points. DCU limited Glanmire to just nine points in the third quarter, Key scores from Sarah Woods and Ashley Russell helped DCU home to victory, as they upped the pressure on Shrita Parker for Glanmire. Key scores from Sarah Woods and Ashley Russell helped DCU home to victory, despite the best efforts of Aine McKenna and Tatum Neubert.

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Maree remain second in the Women’s Super League table thanks to a 58-72 point win over IT Carlow Basketball on the road. A tight opening half saw nothing much between the teams in the early exchanges, with Maree leading 14-19 at the end of the first. A big push from both sides in the second quarter saw some quality scores from Carlow’s Alyssa Velles and Kaitlyn Slagus, but these were responded to at the other end, with Claire Rockall leading the charge for the visitors to lead 31-40 at the half. The sides remained in touching distance throughout the second half, with Slagus and Velles dominating for the hosts, but Rockall, Fiona Scally and Carly McClendon put up some good scores to keep Maree in front, and they ran out 58-72 point winners in the end.

Maxol WIT Wildcats were clinical in their dominant win over Singleton SuperValu Brunell on Saturday evening, winning out 96-66 in the end. A superb all round team performance from the hosts saw them dictate the pace of the game from the off, limiting Brunell’s key scores with superb defence and opening up a 50-28 point half time lead. Brunell came back at them in the second half, but Sinead Deegan, Jasmine Walker and Stephanie O’Shea kept the scores raining in, and they were comfortable 30-point winners in the end.

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