The highly anticipated meeting of defending champions UL Eagles and pre-season title favourites C&S UCC Demons in Basketball Ireland’s Men’s Premier League lived up to its billing at the weekend as only two points separated the sides, with the visitors from Cork leaving victorious.
Described as a “dog-fight” by Demons head coach, Colin O’Reilly, a stirring second-half comeback from Eagles fell just short on a night when their new American, Delwan Graham, poured in 29 points.
Earlier in the night, Belfast Star shocked most pundits with a convincing 66 to 78 win away from home against DCU Saints, the northerners’ first win since re-entering the top flight of Irish basketball this season.
Elsewhere in the Men’s Premier League, Killester edged out a dramatic win in their Dublin derby game against UCD Marian while Bord Gais Neptune ran out easy winners against Moycullen in Cork.
The weekend in the Women’s Premier League saw a dramatic overtime contest between Liffey Celtics and Team Montenotte Hotel. After Celtics missed a last second shot to win the game momentum swung in favour of Montenotte and the Cork side travelled home with the eventual spoils on a scoreline of 64 to 74.
Meanwhile, defending champions UL Huskies continued their red-hot start to the season with a 102 to 61 victory over Meteors while both Singleton SuperValu Brunell and WIT Wildcats enjoyed wins over Ulster Rockets and Killester respectively.
UL Eagles 75-77 C&S UCC Demons
Two heavyweights of the Irish game clashed Saturday night in the UL Sport Arena as pre-season favourites C&S UCC Demons went head to head with defending champions UL Eagles.
Eagles started the game like true champions, jumping out to a lead while the pretenders to the crown struggled to keep pace. Demons settled quickly after that however and by mid-way through the 3rd quarter, had established a double digit lead.
After holding on through that less than pretty final quarter for an impressive early season win.
DCU Saints 66-78 Belfast Star
A young and daring Belfast Star team earned an audacious road win in Dublin on Saturday night as they proved too good for DCU Saints, winning 66 to 78.
After losing only narrowly to 2013 cup champions Bord Gais Neptune the previous weekend, this win by Star is sure to draw a lot of attention across Irish basketball, particularly from those who may have thought they would be easy pickings having only re-entered the top flight this season.
Dublin Inter 69-65 Templeogue
Despite having a rotation of just seven players, Dublin Inter head coach Sarunas Cesnakaus was smiling after his side’s game against Templeogue courtesy of a gutsy 69 to 65 win at home.
“I am so proud of all of these players. They just leave everything on the court. We had a lot missing tonight for one reason or another and some of the players played for all 40 minutes,” said Cesnakaus.
Led by always outstanding combo of Mindaugas Tamusauskas and Aurimus Statkus (who combined for 38 points and 18 rebounds), Inter’s win will send a clear message that the team are not happy with last season’s low placing in the table.
UCD 87-93 Marian Killester
With such a great history between them, the meeting of UCD Marian and Killester is always likely to entertain and Saturday night’s matchup was no exception.
Two late dunks from Killester American Michael Bonaparte decided what was a thrilling contest, in favour of the visitors.
While Meany finished the game with 23 points, game honours went to Killester guard Isaac Westbrooks, who finished the game with 31 points while finding the energy to hold high scoring Marian shooter, Eoin Chubb, to just five points on the far end.
Along with Bonaparte’s 30 points, the pair did enough to lead their team to a second straight victory to start the season and a place atop the Men’s Premier League table alongside Bord Gais Neptune, who they play next week.
Bord Gais Neptune 88-68 Moycullen
Bord Gais Neptune recovered from a mid-game shooting bonanza by visitors Moycullen to notch their second win of the season and join their opponents next week, Killester, at the top of the Basketball Ireland Men’s Premier League table.
The game was in the balance in the third and fourth quarter, but Neptune stepped up their defensive intensity and shut down Moycullen’s scoring threats, allowing them to push out to the eventual 20 point winning margin.
Women’s Premier League
UL Huskies 102-61 Meteors
Riding high on a wave of confidence following an impressive win in week one over DCU Mercy, defending league champions UL Huskies sent out another clear message Saturday night to all pretenders to the crown with a convincing win over Meteors of Dublin.
Led by an inspirational 31 points from centre, Aoife McDermott, Huskies raced out to an early lead and never looked back. Ahead 35 to 10 after the first quarter, they stifled repeated Meteors attempt at a comeback to win 102 to 61.
Liffey Celtics 64- 74 Team Montenotte Hotel
It took overtime to finally separate Liffey Celtics and Team Montenotte Hotel before the visitors from Cork emerged 64 to 74 victors.
After a winless season in 2012-13, Celtics are a much improved outfit this time around and showed, by going toe to toe with 2013 cup finalists Team Montenotte Hotel, that they are now a side to be reckoned with.
Singleton SuperValu Brunell 70-55 Ulster Rockets
In the 2012-13 season, a young Singleton SuperValu Brunell team finished mid-table but failed to record wins over Ulster Rockets or Killester in the regular season.
Two weeks into the 2013-14 campaign and they sit tied for first place with UL Huskies and wins over both Rockets and Killester in their rear view mirror.
WIT Wildcats 70-57 Killester
WIT Wildcats got their season off to the perfect start with a win over Killester at home in convincing fashion.
Led by a 24-point performance from their new American player, Rachel Roberts out of Villanova University, Wildcats proved too strong for the travelling Killester outfit.