C & S Neptune 96 Moycullen 71
A STUNNING third quarter from Neptune ensured they saw off Moycullen in a disappointing Men’s Super League clash at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.
The Blackpool side trailed at the break by the minimum but the reintroduction of Cian Heaphy certainly lifted the tempo as they outscored their opponents 31-8 in the third quarter.
For captain Roy Downey this game was all about getting the right result.
“We never came out of the traps in the first half but credit to the lads they got their act together in the second and I think we showed great resilience at both ends of the court.”
Moycullen got off to a good start with American Grant Olson finishing with a lovely floater on their first possession before Nil Sabata responded with a similar basket.
Olson followed up with a three and a basket as the westerners commanded a 9-7 lead in the fourth minute.
The home side were struggling to break down Moycullen’s stringent defence but a Roy Downey three-pointer levelled proceedings with three minutes remaining the opening period.
Olson was superb for Moycullen but some of the Neptune defending in this period had to be seen to be believed. To be fair it was the battling qualities of Moycullen that kept them in the game and a late Joshua Marvesley basket ensured they led by the minimum entering the second quarter 24-23.
On the restart, Neptune began making some shots outside the arc with consecutive three-pointers from Miles Washington and Downey helping them into a 33-29 lead.
In the case of Washington, some of his defending was well below the standard of a professional. You cannot defend with your hands down and Washington has been guilty of this all season.
Incredibly with 3.50 remaining to the interval Neptune still trailed by the minimum and in recent games, Moycullen have been struggling to score but on this occasion, they exposed Neptune’s defensive strategy.
The closing minutes were scrappy but Neptune player-coach Colin O’Reilly had a job to do at the break to get his team firing for the second half as they trailed 44-43.
The halftime pep talk proved crucial for Neptune and the reintroduction of Heaphy who only played five minutes of the first half brought energy to the home side.
Heaphy showed his athleticism when producing a massive dunk that set the tempo for the remainder of the quarter as they surged into a 22-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Coming down the stretch Neptune could afford to give their fringe players some court time as Moycullen never looked likely to get back in this game.