Tradehouse Central Ballincollig 78 Abbey Seal’s Dublin Lions 77
TRADEHOUSE Central Ballincollig were crowned Division 1 Southern Conference Champions on Saturday evening when they beat Dublin Lions at Ballincollig Community School.
Ballincollig looked comfortable coming down the stretch leading 72-61, but Lions came roaring back to take a 75-72 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the game.
Steven O’Sullivan then hit his third three-pointer of the game, and when Dylan Corkery hit another monstrous three for Ballincollig in the final 12 seconds to retake the lead 78-75, the Ballincollig supporters nearly took the roof off the gym. Lions did have a chance to level the game but missed their three-point effort, American Conroy Baltimore picked up the offensive rebound and his put back was the last action of the game.
Ballincollig came into the game missing their captain Ciarán O’Sullivan with a nasty finger injury, but he was full of praise for his team.
“We got lucky at the end hitting two clutch shots but credit Lions they came storming back into a great game,” said Ciarán.
“We worked hard all year in a season that seems to be never ending but we proved today that we weren’t a two-man team with some wonderful performances from Ian (McLoughlin), Dylan and Stephen when the game was on the line.
“It was also nice to see our younger players getting some valuable minutes today which will stand to them going.”
Lion’s coach Rob White was disappointed with the result but praised his side.
“We are a young team and although I’m disappointed with the result I think my team will learn from this and how to close out games.”
The first quarter was a very dull affair with both teams finding it hard to get any rhythm.
Ballincollig hotshot Andre Nation was restricted to shooting from outside the arc without finding much success, and the introduction of Stephen O’Sullivan gave them some outside firepower with two three-pointers to lead 16-14 at end of the period.
In the second quarter, the visitors shot three consecutive three-pointers to lead 23-20 after four minutes of play. Nation then began to find his range hitting some wonderful baskets to restore Ballincollig’s lead 36-35 at the half.
There was very little between the sides in the third period as the home team went into the final quarter leading 59-53.
McLoughlin ran in three consecutive lay0ups for Ballincollig to lead 68-55 and the game looked over as a contest, but credit Lions they fought back to retake the lead only to see Corkery sealing victory for Ballincollig 78-77.
Top scorers for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig: Andre Nation 27, Ian McLoughlin, Dylan Corkery 11.
Abbey Seal’s Dublin Lion’s: Conroy Baltimore 14, Garrett Collins 14, Igor Mankiewicz 10.
TRADEHOUSE CENTRAL BALLINCOLLIG: C Murray, D Corkery, P McSweeney, A O’Connor, I McLoughlin, A Lordan, S O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, J Kelly, A Chandler, A Nation, I Jame’s, C Blount.
ABBEY SEAL’S DUBLIN LION’S: S Mohamed, J Maguire, T Howe, G Collins, F Hughes, A O’Reilly, M Sabin, C Baltimore, I Mankiewicz, T Swiatowy, R Caverly.
Referees: Maurice Thornhill ( Cork ), Andy Clearly ( Dublin ).