Cork basketball: Neptune head into the playoffs on a high

A 10-point win over Tralee sets the Super League team up nicely for their trip to Killester while earlier on Saturday their U15s won a high-profile tournament at Parochial Hall
Cork basketball: Neptune head into the playoffs on a high

C & S Nephune's Cian Heaphy is fouled by Tralee Warrior's Eoin Quigley during the Men's Super League at Neptune Stadium. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

C & S Neptune 91 Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 81 

C & S Neptune returned to winning ways with a comfortable win over Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in the Men’s Super League at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.

After losing out to the Warriors in the cup final this was an important result for Neptune and assistant coach Darren Geaney was pleased with the overall performance.

“Credit to the lads they followed the game-plan from our coach Colin O’Reilly and I think we deserved our win in the manner we played over the four quarters.” 

Nil Sabata showed awareness to nail a basket in the opening possession but Darragh O’Hanlon responded with a long range three. Aleix Tarradelas, who has a had disappointing season after picking up a preseason injury, executed consecutive three-pointers that ensured Neptune commanded a 13-3 lead in the fourth minute.

To be fair Neptune were playing a high-tempo game but as the quarter matured the Kerry side began finding their shooting range and with 2.48 remaining in the quarter the deficit was reduced to six points before Neptune called a time out. Scott Hannigan did help Neptune stop the rot with a stunning three and another shot outside the arc from Roy Downey helped the home side race into a 29-18 lead at the end of quarter.

The trend of the game didn’t change as Neptune persisted in running at the Tralee defence and three minutes into this period they commanded a 13-point advantage. Nil Sabata, Neptune’s Catalonian ace, was having a solid evening at the post and with three minutes the gap was out to 15.

The closing exchanges were scrappy but Neptune always looked in control and it was no surprise they went in at the break up 52-36.

On the restart, Neptune took some silly shooting options but when Cian Heaphy took off from outside the key and slam-dunked in the 23rd minute the roof almost lifted off the stadium. Credit to the Warriors they kept battling and with four minutes left in the quarter the lead was reduced to 10 points.

The Warriors defence began imploding and Niko Rosa picked up his fifth foul and despite his frustration his lack of discipline was costly.

Neptune despite not playing to their potential in this period ended with a buzzer-beater from Richaud Gittens that ensured they commanded a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter.

C & S Nephune's Richaud Gittens looking to get past Tralee Warrior's Keelan Crowe. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
C & S Nephune's Richaud Gittens looking to get past Tralee Warrior's Keelan Crowe. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Coming down the stretch the Warriors threw the kitchen sink at Neptune and although reducing the deficit to eight points with three minutes remaining that’s as good as it got for them.

Next up for Neptune is a quarter-final play-off with Killester in Dublin.

The club got a great lift earlier in the day when Neptune's talented U15 team landed the John Coughlan Tournament, defeating St Brendan's, Ballincollig and Portlaoise in the knockout stages.

Top scorers for C & S Neptune: N Sabata 26, R Gittens 17, C Heaphy 13.

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: A Calixte 19, D Jokubaitis 16, D O’Hanlon 9.

C & S NEPTUNE: G Walsh, J Hannigan, R Downey, K O’Donoghue, D Varma, C Heaphy, M Washington, N Sabata, C O’Reilly, A Tarradellis, A Heaphy.

WARRIORS: B Cotton, N Roso, A Calixte, Z Kaletka, F O’Sullivan, O Michalczuk, D O’Hanlon, K Crowe, K Donaghy, D Jokubaitis, J Fernane, S Bowler, E Quigley, A Fleming, R Elksnis, P Fleming.

Referees: J Dooley (Portlaoise), J Malysko (Dublin), G Daly (Cork).

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