C&S UCC Demons won a thrilling overtime Basketball Ireland National Cup semi-final tonight in Cork’s Neptune Stadium, besting Killester by a single point 87-86.
To start, an inspired effort from Demons player coach Colin O’Reilly was the only thing that kept this a contest in the first half as Killester shot out of the blocks.
Their even spread of scoring was in direct contrast to the O’Reilly-dependent Demons with their player coach pouring in 19 first half points, while Killester found consistent scorers in Isaac Westbrooks, John Behan, Michael Bonaparte and others.
A Demons comeback was always going to be on the cards however and it came quickly in the second half. A steal and breakaway dunk by Kyle Hosford with seven left in the third brought the Demons faithful to their feet and closed the gap to six points.
Killester weathered the storm and re-extended their lead to 15 points entering the fourth quarter when things went from bad to worse for Demons as O’Reilly picked up a fifth foul, ending his night with over eight minutes on the clock and trailing still by 15.
In an odd twist, O’Reilly’s exit seemed to inspire his troops as Demons then went on a ferocious comeback, their full court defence causing multiple turnovers and incredibly had them trailing by just four with under five minutes remaining.
The momentum on their side, Demons came back in force and trailed by just a point with 8 seconds remaining.
A wild Ciaran Roe shot for Killester resulted in a scrappy rebound for Adrian O’Sullivan, who was fouled and went to the free throw line for two shots.
O’Sullivan made one of two and after a missed O’Brien shot for Killester the game went to overtime, leaving the capacity crowd on tender hooks.
A thrilling overtime saw both teams land what may have been killer blows against lesser sides but neither was willing to capitulate in this one. With 26 seconds left, the game was still undecided, Demons in front by three and Killester with possession.
Killester failed to capitalise, Behan, who had been excellent all night, missing an easy two allowing Demons to clinch the win at the free throw line a last-second three for Killester their only consolation.
The Men’s National Cup final will take place on January 24 in the National Basketball Arena.