Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 95 Limerick Celtics 76
TRADEHOUSE Central Ballincollig hosted their last game of the Men’s Division 1 National League campaign with a comfortable win over Limerick Celtics at Ballincollig Community School on Saturday.
Despite American Andre Nation getting harshly ejected from the game with four minutes remaining in the third quarter this game was basically a stroll in the park for the champions.
They still finished in style, with the likes of U18s Colm Blount and Seán O'Flynn shooting the lights out in the closing stages.
In a game that Ballincollig dominated from the early exchanges coach Kieran O’Sullivan was relatively content.
“We have to realistic. Limerick Celtics had a very young side and it was a case for us getting the job done early and getting our fringe players some court time,” said O’Sullivan.
Ballincollig are 21-0 in the league and O’Sullivan is hoping his side can stay unbeaten.
“We haven’t thought too much about records this season but the bottom line now is all about ensuring we go up in style after our final game next weekend against Fr Mathew’s,” added O’Sullivan.
This season the Limerick club have dominated basketball at underage level and coach Hehir believes they are setting a good foundation for the coming years.
“We have some good talent and once they come of age I think there will be some good talent at our club but for now it’s a case of continuing with our work at underage level,” added Hehir.
The opening quarter started in style when Nation broke loose from the backcourt for a stylish dunk.
Indeed Ballincollig were rampant in the opening exchanges and with Ciaran O’Sullivan nailing a three in the second minute they soon commanded a nine-point lead.
In the fourth minute, a second Nation slammer following an O’Sullivan assist had the home fans in rapture.
The tempo dropped in defence and Celtics took advantage that reduced the deficit to eight points entering the second quarter.
The trend of the game didn’t change on the restart but the Ballincollig defence was slack at times as some neat three-pointers from the American Kevin Oberweiser reduced the deficit to seven points with 2.36 remaining to the interval.
Luckily Ballincollig responded to the wake-up call and at the interval, they were comfortable in a 14-point lead 48-34.
The third quarter saw Ballincollig look in total control but amazingly Nation fell foul of the officials after it was clear he had been provoked by one or two Limerick players.
Yet they still commanded a 13-point lead entering the final quarter.
Coming down the stretch Ballincollig shot the ball exceptionally well and with substitute Blount nailing three consecutive baskets and O’Flynn also making an impact the home side saw off the Shannonsiders in style.
Top scorers for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig: A Nation 24, C O’Sullivan 12, J Kelly 10.
Limerick Celtics: K Oberweiser 24, C Hortelano 18, J Murphy 10.
Referees: T Dunphy (Dublin), E O’Neill (Kerry)