Coughlan C & S Neptune 89 Belfast Star 84
A STUNNING fourth quarter from Coughlan C & S Neptune preserved their impressive start to the Men’s Super League following a thrilling win over Belfast Star at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.
The Blackpool outfit looked doomed entering the final quarter when they trailed by nine points, but, inspired by Kyle Hosford who was outstanding in this period, they brushed aside the northerners with style.
It was a strange evening at the Stadium with player-coach Lehmon Colbert still carrying an elbow injury and although he decided against starting, he had to play more minutes than required as Victory Scholar Peter Hoffman was in foul trouble early in this game.
As Colbert took the plaudits from the fans after the game, he found time to reflect on his team’s performance.
“We had to dig deep and that’s the beauty of having a good squad as we had players tonight from the bench that stepped up to the plate and in the end, the character that’s in the team shone through,” said Colbert.
Neptune have a cup quarter-final clash looming in Dublin on Saturday against DCU Saints and Colbert knows that his damaged elbow will need intensive treatment for him to play.
“It’s very sore right now, but look I feel it was worth playing in such a vital game and now we can rest our bodies tomorrow and go at it on Monday as we need to be sharp against Saints.”
The mood in the Belfast Star camp was one of disappointment, summed by their coach, Adrian Fulton.
“This loss is tough to take as we dominated the game for long periods, but in the last quarter we crumbled and, as a coach, witnessing that is not nice,” said Fulton.
Neptune were dominant in the opening stages as they played a beautiful brand of basketball and with Spanish star Nil Sabata dominating the scoring stakes, they led 25-17 entering the second quarter.
Neptune were sloppy on the restart and with some players losing a little discipline, Star punished them to lead 38-36 at the break.
On the re-start Star basically shot the lights out as the shooting of Keelan Kerins and Sean Quinn saw them increase their lead to 10.
In the closing minutes, Neptune battled hard, but when they threatened a revival, Star punished them with superb shooting that saw them lead 73-64 entering the final quarter.
Hosford may have struggled in the scoring stakes this season, but he took the game by the scruff of the neck and with stalwarts Gary Walsh and Ger Noonan making vital contributions Neptune killed off the Star challenge.
Scorers for Coughlan C & S Neptune: N Sabata 24, K Hosford 14, L Colbert 8.
Belfast Star: D Blaylock 17, A Quinn 17, K Cairns 14.
Referees: Referees: Emma Perry (Dublin), Peter James Coughlan (Dublin), Catriona White (Dublin).