Phoenix BC 75 Ballincollig 70
HEARTBREAK for Ballincollig as they narrowly lost out to Lisburn side Phoenix BC in a pulsating Men’s U18 National Cup semi-final at the National Basketball Arena on Sunday afternoon.
This game had everything and for the Ballincollig coach Daniel O’Sullivan it was a case of his side giving their all to the final buzzer.
O’Sullivan said: “We had a problem keeping our big players on the court and in the end, it cost us big time but I cannot fault the effort of my players who left everything out there.”
The Cork side led for the majority of this game but coming down the stretch they basically ran out of gas after a heroic showing.
“It was tough but we could never get our best five playing once the foul trouble hit us but it was a major effort from the lads."
To be fair Ballincollig were quickest from the blocks and with Rory O’Flynn showing his class they soon commanded a four-point lead.
The northerners were battling to stay within striking distance and a Calum Keys' three helped tie the game in the seventh minute.
Credit to Ballincollig they refused to panic and a stunning O’Flynn three-pointer edged the Cork side ahead 21-14 entering the second quarter.
On the restart, the intensity increased and with Ryan Calo posing Ballincollig’s problems with his deft moves to the hoop they were soon back on parity.
In the closing minutes to the interval, both teams played some great defence but a Jack Scannell three-pointer ensured Ballincollig still led at the interval 33-30. Ballincollig got punished with fouls on key players like Isaac Eroutteh and that weakened their presence at the post.
Midway through the final quarter the teams were still level but coming down the stretch the Lisburn-based side found the crucial baskets. The Calo brothers Callum and Ryan showed their class for the winners when the game hung in the balance as Ballincollig just fell short.
Top Scorers for Ballincollig: I Eroutteh 16, J Scannell 14, R O’Flynn 10.
Phoenix BC: C Keys 21, R Calo 18, J Calo 16.
PHOENIX BC: I Kinber, T Keomey, K Calo, O Ahnoneada, J Byrne, F Rogers, T Sloan, C Keys, Z Lynas, J Warner, E Sherry, J Calo.
BALLINCOLLI: R O’Flynn, D McMahon, S Wachovasys, J Scannell, G Igonaghone, D Barry, C Kumanzovic, E Carew, B Douanla, I Eroutteh, T Sullivan.
Referees: C White (Dublin), M Whelan (Dublin).