Emporium Cork Basketball 97 Energywise Ireland Neptune 96
EMPORIUM Cork Basketball had to withstand a late Energywise Ireland Neptune rally before finally securing maximum points in the Men’s Super League at Ballincollig Community School on Saturday.
Ballincollig will be thinking about how they allowed Neptune back in the game as they had a 19-point lead when John Dawson nailed a three-pointer with 5.21 remaining.
If the home side had lost this game they would have been a major enquiry as in truth they played by far the better basketball for the majority of the game even without their influential injured Spanish ace Jose Jimenez Gonzalez.
The opening exchanges belonged to the home side as they shot the ball with precision and when the MVP of the game Adrian O’Sullivan made a deft drive to the hoop in the third minute Ballincollig had surged into a seven-point lead, 11-4.
Ballincollig were certainly on fire and with Keelan Cairns following up with consecutive three-pointers the lead extended to 12 points midway through this period.
Neptune looked sluggish at both ends of the court but they slowly found their rhythm in the offence court and Jordan Blount one of the few players to show any type of form reduced the deficit to four points with a minute remaining.
Ballincollig to their credit always looked capable of exposing poor Neptune defending but a late Gary Walsh three-pointer cut the Ballincollig lead to 23-20.
On the restart, there was little to choose between the sides in the early exchanges with both sides trading baskets for long periods.
One player that posed Neptune all sorts of problems was Dylan Corkery who had a superb game in defence as well as picking up a number of offensive rebounds.
In the closing minutes, Ballincollig increased the tempo and a late Ciarán O’Sullivan three-pointer saw the home side command a 13-point interval lead.
There is little doubt the performance of Nil Sabata was possibly his poorest of the season as he looked out of sorts and Neptune still had it all to do entering the final when trailing 73-65.
In the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, Ballincollig blitzed Neptune with Adrian O’Sullivan, Keelan Cairns and Dawson all nailing a three-pointer each helping them race into a 19-point lead.
In fairness to Neptune, they unsettled their opponents coming down the stretch and in the final possession Blount had a shot to win it but much to the delight of the Ballincollig fans it rimmed out.
J Dawson 26, A O’Sullivan 20, K Cairns 18, D Corkery 12.
J Evans 26, J Blount 24, R Downey 18, N Sabata 11.
C O’Sullivan, R O’Sullivan, A O’Sullivan, K Cairns, D Corkery, H Murphy, A O’Connor, J Dawson, S O’Flynn, P Cami Gallera, C Blount, L O’Sullivan, P Lucey.
G Walsh, K O’Donoghue, R Downey, C Heaphy, A Heaphy, J Evans, X Arriaga, N Sabata, J Blount, K Garcia, K Scott.
J Dooley (Portlaoise), L Aherne (Limerick), G Daly (Cork).