Emporium Cork Basketball and Energywise Ireland Neptune clinched the final two spots in the InsureMyVan.ie Super League play-offs, while defending champions Garvey's Tralee Warriors were dumped out.
The Kerry side played out a classic against rivals Energywise Ireland Neptune on home court.
A DeOndre Jackson three had the teams level, 71-71, with just 37 seconds left on the clock in Tralee, both teams knowing it was win or go home.
Up stepped Irish international Jordan Blount to ice the game with a three of his own, swiftly followed by a pair of Roy Downey free throws in a 77-73 win for Colin O’Reilly’s side. It sets up a mouthwatering clash on the road against Belfast Star in the first round of the play-offs next weekend.
Earlier in the day Emporium Cork Basketball ensured their season will last at least one more game by beating Bright St Vincent’s by 30 points, in the first game played at the MTU Arena. Jose Gonzales and John Dawson combined for 39 points, with head coach Ciaran O’Sullivan now eyeing up a meeting with DBS Éanna for their next assignment.
DBS Éanna tuned up for that with a comfortable 89-75 win against relegation pla-off-bound UCD Marian. No fewer than six players hit double figures for Darren McGovern’s team, led by Joshua Wilson.
Strong shooting performances in both the second and fourth quarters proved too much for Ioannis Liapakis’ team, who’s top flight survival has been dependent on next weekend’s meeting with Moycullen for some time.
Belfast Star avoided the ignominy of three consecutive defeats heading into the post-season by grinding out a 90-80 win against a resurgent Griffith College Templeogue.
Chrishon Briggs had a big night from the mid-range, scoring 34 points including 10 in a strong Star first quarter. Francis Mulvihill continued his fine season for Mark Keenan’s outfit, who might feel they could have made a playoff push without suffering some key injuries at the midway point of the campaign.
It took overtime in Clontarf to separate Killester and EJ Sligo All-Stars, the home side running out eventual winners 78-73.
It cements Brian O’Malley’s team in third place in the Northern Conference and a meeting with UCC Demons in the upcoming play-offs. EJ Sligo All-Stars will have to defeat the winners of the Southern Conference University of Galway Maree if they’re to progress beyond next weekend.
Charlie Crowley’s team will enter that contest full of confidence after ending the 10-game winning streak of UCC Demons. Maree entered the final quarter trailing 62-58 before unleashing a 29-point barrage on the Demons’ basket, while only giving up nine points of their own. Rodrigo Gomez and Jarett Haines coming up big once more. They combined for 22 of those points in an 87-71 win.
Elsewhere Moycullen’s recent good form came to a shuddering halt in Killorglin, Flexachem KCYMS ensuring Paul Cunningham will have plenty to think about this week with a 79-67 win. Robert Alan Kelly Jr capping a great individual season for Declan Wall’s team by hitting 26 points to lead them to victory.
The Address UCC Glanmire were crowned MissQuote.ie Super League champions at the Mardyke Arena, but tasted defeat for just the third time all year in doing so.
An energetic Waterford Wildcats silenced a boisterous home crowd temporarily, Jasmine Walker nailing a game-winning jumper with just 25 seconds left on the clock to ensure they held onto fourth place in the MissQuote.ie Super League with an 83-81 win. That could prove crucial in more ways than one for Champions Trophy seeding.
The crowd in the Mardyke Arena were treated to a very entertaining game throughout and soon regained their voice to salute the players and management as they were presented with the MissQuote.ie Super League trophy.
Elsewhere on Sunday, DCU Mercy highlighted their Champions Trophy credentials in an 88-50 win over Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics.
Mark Ingle’s side were already assured of a second place finish in the MissQuote.ie Super League, but didn’t let it affect their performance. Amelia Motz top scored with 18 points, ably assisted by Nicole Clancy, Lindsey Abed and Ciara Byrne.
Singleton SuperValu Brunell ended their season on a high with a 82-79 victory over Trinity Meteors.
Akilah Bethel was unplayable at times so it was fitting that she scored four ice cool free-throws in the last 1:07 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The result is a minor setback for Trinity Meteors who lost to Ulster University a week ago, though head coach Niall Berry will likely see plenty to work on ahead of their meeting with Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics in the Champions Trophy.
Chanell Williams and Mimi Clarke hit 49 points between them, as Killester earned a 103-75 win over i3PT Fr Mathews to enter the Champions Trophy in style. Mark Grennell’s team will go in as the fifth seed, as Waterford Wildcats own the tiebreaker over them but having already secured an InsureMyHouse.ie National Cup, the Clontarf outfit won’t fear any team on the road to the finals weekend in April.
The weekend’s other fixture saw University of Galway Mystics pick up a third win of the season, 86-75 over Ulster University. The result means that Patrick O’Neill’s UU may yet face a relegation play-off depending on the outcome of the MissQuote.ie Division 1 play-off picture.