C & S Neptune 89 Killorglin 90
DRAMA at Neptune Stadium as a buzzer-beater three-pointer from Killorglin’s Xabier Arriaga gave the Kerry side an unexpected win over C & S Neptune in a thrilling Men’s Super League clash.
Certainly not for the faint-hearted as the home side led for long periods and with 1.8 seconds remaining Neptune were still in front, 89-87, following a deft Roy Downey jumper.
Killorglin called a time out to set up a play for their ace American shooter Alain Thomas and just as the players were returning to court Neptune decided to use their second time out.
When the ball was eventually inbounded the Killorglin plan to find Thomas failed but somehow Arriaga caught the ball and banked an incredible three.
The opening exchanges were played at a ferocious pace with both teams playing high tempo basketball that saw the home side race into a six-point lead.
Killorglin looked to be concentrating on their outside game but Neptune to their credit found a way to stop that threat.
The home side used various rotations and with player-coach Colin O’Reilly making a telling contribution they soon gained control.
In the closing minutes, the Killorglin American Alain Thomas threatened to hurt the home side with some daggers outside the arc.
Luckily Neptune found the crucial baskets and a buzzer-beater from Nil Sabata ensured they had a six-point cushion 29-23 entering the second quarter.
On the resumption, Neptune threatened to take control as a Sabata basket spurred them to play some champagne basketball.
Inspired by captain Roy Downey they ran Killorglin amock and a monstrous dunk from Sabata had the stadium in rapture as they raced into a 13 point lead.
To be fair Killorglin were playing little or no defence as they seemed intent on outscoring Neptune with their consistent long-range shooting.
At one stage of this, it was the equivalent to watching a scrimmage with both teams playing absolutely no defence.
The closing minutes of the half saw both teams make silly shooting and passing errors but Neptune deservedly went in at the break commanding an 11 point lead 56-45.
Midway through the third quarter following a Colin O’Reilly three-pointer the home side led 68-57 as they looked to be taking control.
Credit to Killorglin despite some indiscipline from their coach Declan Wall that saw him punished with a technical foul his players responded in style and a late Eoin O’Sullivan basket reduced the deficit to four points 58-54 as the fourth quarter loomed.
The one player that Neptune failed to restrict when the game hung in the balance was American Thomas whose strength saw him score key baskets.
Just when the Neptune players and supporters were getting ready to celebrate the Houdini shot from Arriaga put a dampener on proceedings against all the odds.
N Sabata 21, R Downey 18, M Washington 18.