/ Basketball

Neptune and Saints continue to set the pace

Updated: Sunday, 27 Nov 2011 19:16

Basketball - BG Neptune and DCU Saints continue in impressive form
Basketball - BG Neptune and DCU Saints continue in impressive form

In the Nivea for Men SuperLeague, Bord Gáis Neptune overcame the challenge of 11890 Killester to continue their impressive form this season, while DCU Saints justified their position as frontrunners of the Northern conference with victory over UL Eagles in Limerick.

After last week’s disappointment UCC Demons were victorious after a thrilling contest against UCD, while Belfast Star got their campaign off the ground with a first win away to Moycullen.

On Sunday, Moycullen upset the odds to defeat UL Eagles, who will have been shocked at losing two games in as many days.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague there were wins for UL, Killester and Team Montonotte Hotel Cork on Saturday, while, on Sunday, Meteors overcame Super Value Brunell and DCU Mercy ran out victors against Oblate Dynamos.

In the Nivea for Men SuperLeague, Neptune exercised their league final demons on Sunday by defeating reigning champions 11890 Killester on a scoreline of 73-72.

Having almost wrested the league title from Killester last season, Mark Scannell’s side have come back with increased vigour and purpose this time round.

Leading the way in the Southern Conference, Sunday’s clash offered Scannell and his charges the opportunity to further underline their championship credentials against the side that defeated them in such dramatic circumstances last season.

In a game that was fiercely contested throughout, neither side managed to rack up a significant lead, the first half finishing all square at thirty nine points apiece.

That trend continued in the second half, with defences coming out on top.

Neptune were in danger of surrendering the tie on team fouls, but, in the dying moments, American Ron Thompson displayed his class to shoot the game’s winning basket and give the home side a one-point victory.

Scannell said “We got that bit of luck we needed. Defensively we were excellent. We had a target of scoring eighty points today and were a bit below that.

"Some days we can be superb in offence and weak on defence. It was the opposite against Killester. We need to figure out a way of getting it to click at both ends of the court-that’s the challenge we have to meet.”

Moycullen upset the odds on Sunday with a fine 63-61 victory over UL Eagles.

The home side had lost out to Belfast Star only twenty four hours earlier, but were in defiant mood against the Limerick outfit. Luke Enos was instrumental for Moycullen, contributing 26 points in a display which left UL reeling.

Winning coach Gerard Lyons said “ It was close throughout but we were really up for it. Luke is the man for us. He made some amazing shots and was the difference today.”

On Saturday UCC Demons returned to winning ways after a blistering clash with reigning cup champions UCD Marian.

Paul Kelleher’s side eventually won 79-75 in a game which had hung in the balance for so long.

Demons have had mixed fortunes of late: the elation at defeating DCU Saints two weeks ago was quashed after a humbling defeat to Killester last time out, when the team gave up one hundred points.

Kelleher pulled no punches about how difficult that result was to take.

“After what happened last week we really needed to ask ourselves some questions," he admitted. "When you have a defeat like that it is important that you go over things-you reassess.

"To the lads' credit, they have come through that process and come out fighting for each other.

"Their performance was absolutely superb, and they showed incredible resolve to stick to the task when things got tough. The character they showed was brilliant to see. I’m very proud of my players after that performance."

Belfast Star secured a first victory of the season away to Moycullen, Danny Fulton’s side running out 75-61 winners in Galway.

Fulton was pleased to get the win on the board and praised the performance of American Josh Johnson who contributed an impressive thirty points.

“Josh made a huge difference on the night," said Fulton. "His all round play was excellent and defensively he was very important as well.

"On the whole we played very well defensively. We rebounded very well and that gave us the platform to get the win.”

DCU Saints continue to set the pace in the Northern Conference after a convincing 79-60 win away to UL Eagles.

DCU coach David Donnelly says his team showed impressive nous and control in securing the win: "The guys showed great composure throughout.

"We were four points up at half time but managed to stretch out the lead in the third quarter. They tried to make a run back at us, but the lads were very professional in the way they dealt with it and we were well in control at the end.

Donnelly’s side are now nine for two this season and the coach is confident the team can maintain their fine from as they head into the business end of the season.

“We have a great dynamic in the squad now," Donnelly added. "There are no egos at all in the dressing room. We are a team and everybody here is working hard for each other. It’s great to have a dressing room like that.

"For example, Mike Trimmer and Kevin Lacy came in and did a great job for us against Eagles. It is important to have people who can step up to the mark when needed.

"They are a very determined bunch of players and I’m very confident they can keep this going for the rest of the season. They will keep focused.”

Meanwhile, in the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague there were wins for UL, Killester and Team Montenotte Hotel on Saturday, while on Sunday Meteors overcame Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell, and DCU Mercy defeated Oblate Dynamos.

UL continue to set the pace at the top of the Women’s SuperLeague after James Weldon’s side notched a ninth successive victory having defeated Ulster Rockets with a 75-50 win.

Coach James Weldon is satisfied with the way the season is progressing. “We had a great defensive performance in the first half which allowed us to try out some new things in the second.

"We have a few injuries at the moment so to be getting wins like this along the way is very positive for us.”

11890 Killester defeated Liffey Celtics by four to win 61-57 on Saturday

Coach Mark Grennell was hugely relieved to get the win, revealing: “The credit really should go to Liffey really. They controlled much of the game and outplayed us, and I think if they had won I wouldn’t have had too many complaints.”

Team Montenotte Hotel saw off the challenge of Waterford Wildcats, Cormac O Donoghue’s side securing a twelve point 73-61 victory.

Coach O ‘Donoghue said: “It was a good win. Wildcats gave us a tough test but some of our players were excellent on the night.

"It was a good run out for us and I think that now we will be in good shape for the cup next weekend.”

On Sunday DCU Mercy secured a resounding 76-38 over Oblate Dynamos.

DCU coach Mark Ingle stated: “We pulled away in the second quarter. Lindsay Peat and Sarah Woods were very good today. We’re happy with that and now we can go on focus on the cup.”

Finally, Meteors defeated Super Value Brunell after a nail biting clash which Hugh Kilbride’s side edged 71-67.