UCC Demons 83 Drogheda Wolves 64
UCC Demons were crowned Presidents National Cup champions following a comfortable win over Drogheda Wolves at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday.
Following a slow start Demons eventually got their act together in defence and superb performances from MVP David Lehane and Tobias Christensen ensured they eventually saw off the underdogs.
Demons backed by a huge support won this game in a canter as Kyle Hosford praised his team’s performance.
Hosford said: “They got us early and I think that was our own fault as we knew their best shooters and for some strange reason we gave them the clear looks.
“Tala Fam getting into early foul trouble certainly hurt us as we lost our fast-breaking game but you saw when he was reintroduced what a key player he is for us.
“This is a great day for our club and one we will celebrate in style as we proved again there is nothing like a Demons team playing in a cup final with the fanbase we have.”
UCC Demons star player David Lehane and coach Danny Mahony talk to John McHale after the Presidents’ Cup final win over Drogheda Wolves pic.twitter.com/VvNKT9Mpzz— EchoLive.ie (@echolivecork) January 22, 2022
Both teams exchanged baskets in the opening 20 seconds as the game was played at a very high tempo pace.
Demons were missing easy tips as the Wolves surged into a 10-4 lead in the third minute.
It was strange Demons were playing zone defence as it allowed Drogheda to nail baskets at will and after six minutes they trailed 17-9.
Tala Fam had to be replaced in the fifth minute when picking up his second foul and suddenly Demons were struggling for baskets.
Three consecutive baskets reduced the deficit to two points but with their Danish ace Tobias Christensen beginning to work at the post they were soon back on parity with two minutes remaining in the quarter.
Ironically in the closing two seconds Demons took the lead when a superb Kyle Hosford assist found Christensen as he banked a shot that saw them lead 23-22 entering the second quarter.
On the restart Demons defence improved immensely at both ends of the court and with the introduction of Jack O’Leary at the point they surged into 32-24 lead in the 13th minute.
The Demons fans were in rapture on their next possession when Kevin Moynihan made a spin move to the hoop and executed a magnificent basket.
For Kyle Hosford, it was a frustrating half as he seemed to be treated rough and got little calls from the match officials.
Demons had possession with 1.16 remaining and coach Danny O’Mahony called a time out with them commanding a 41-33 lead.
On the restart Demons made a cock up of the possession and Drogheda punished them and at the interval Demons looked disappointed with their six-point lead 41-35.
The halftime stats for Demons read 4/11 from the three-point line but inside the arc, they had a 40.9% average with 9/22.
The reintroduction of Tala Fam was inevitable but it was Wolves who drew first blood when Lucas Walford hit a neat jumper.
The referees' inconsistency towards Demons continued as what they calling on them was not getting punished when their opponents committed similar fouls.
Demons without playing to their full potential led 53-41 with 3.21 remaining in the third period.
One player that came to the fore in the closing minutes was David Lehane who nailed eight of nine free throws after being fouled outside the arc on three consecutive occasions.
The Cork side were now in ascendancy and increased their lead to 18 points with two minutes remaining and they held it to the end when they commanded 65-47 lead.
A Christensen three-pointer gave Demons the perfect start and with seven minutes remaining they had increased their lead to 21 points.
It was a case of closing out the game for Demons as they basically had to much class for the brave Drogheda Wolves side.
Top scorers for UCC Demons: D Lehane 24, T Christensen 21, T Fam 13.
Drogheda Wolves: A Mullally 17, L Walford 14, K O’Hanlon 6.
UCC Demons: S Manovic, S Carney, R Murphy, K Hosford, D Lehane, T Thiam Fam, K Hosford, M McCarthy, C Looney, C Ryan, K Moynihan, T Christensen, K Moynihan Drogheda Wolves: D Ebose, C McGroggin, K O’Hanlon, P McGroggin, S Safo, A Mullally, G Alves Vilela, C Crowley, J Alade, M Tyndall, T Dos Santos Periera, L Walford.
Referees: M McGettrick (Dublin), M Landos (Dublin), J Malysko (Dublin).