Cork Basketball: Neptune get back on track at home to Moycullen

After a few disappointing weeks, Neptune showed why they remain Super League contenders, led by Jordan Blount's 26 points
Cork Basketball: Neptune get back on track at home to Moycullen

Energywise Ireland Neptune's Jordan Blount lays up a basket after leaving Moycullen's Matteo Liberatore on the floor. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Energywise Ireland Neptune 96 Moycullen 80 

ENERGYWISE Ireland Neptune got back to winning ways in the Men’s Super League when disposing of Moycullen at Neptune Stadium.

In a game that was competitive in the first half, Neptune found their true form in the third quarter before running out 16-point winners much to the delight of captain Roy Downey.

Downey said: “Fair play to Moycullen they battled right to the wire but credit to the lads we stuck with it and were always in control.

“We lost a couple of games that included our cup quarter-final but we need to take a huge breath and be ready for 2023 where we will give our all to win the Super League.” 

The mood in the Moycullen camp was also positive despite coming out on the wrong end of the result with John Cunningham reflecting on his team's battling performance.

Cunningham said: “We have definitely improved after a bad start to the season but we have been ravaged with injuries and although James Loughnane is still side-lined he should be okay for February.

“I thought the lads dug deep against a Neptune side that are a level above us and overall despite the loss it will give us more confidence going forward.”

Neptune began the game with a different starting five as stalwart Gary Walsh made his first of the season and they began playing high-tempo basketball.

American Jordan Evans is an outright spot shooter and his teammates need to be making screens for him in order to get clear looks. In this period Evans produced a good mixture of his skills with some neat shots and a couple of dunks thrown in over the four quarters as he finished with a 20-point tally that will have given him a huge boost to his confidence.

Moycullen after a slow start began chipping away at the Neptune lead and with American Grant Olsson finding his shooting range they reduced the deficit to three points entering the second quarter 24-21.

On the restart, the trend of the game didn’t change with the visitors matching Neptune in the scoring department.

After having a low-key game against Sligo All Stars, Neptune’s Player of the Season so far Jordan Blount came into his own with some neat drives to the hoop and deft jumpers that kept his side in control.

The westerners to their credit remained within striking distance mainly due to the shooting of Mateo Liberatore Dargan but midway through the quarter they still trailed by eight points.

In the closing minutes to the interval Neptune were tested but with Roy Downey and Kelvin O’Donoghue finishing the half in style they managed to command six-point interval lead.

Energywise Ireland Neptune's Kelvin O'Donoghue takes on Moycullen's Joseph Tummon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Energywise Ireland Neptune's Kelvin O'Donoghue takes on Moycullen's Joseph Tummon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Credit to the Neptune club they invited five juvenile clubs to this game as youngsters from Macroom, Carrigaline, Glenmary-Midleton, Crosshaven and Mallow girls as a good night was enjoyed by one and all at the Blackpool venue.

The Neptune coach Colin O’Reilly didn’t use his full artillery until the third quarter with Nil Sabata showing nice touches. Sabata seems to be lacking big time in confidence and maybe a little TLC from his coach and teammates would resurrect his best form, which this team needs.

Blount and Xabier Arriaga shot the ball exceptionally well in the third quarter and suddenly Neptune had put the game to bed when commanding an 18-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

Coming down the stretch Moycullen continued to test the Neptune defence but the home team always looked capable of nailing baskets and in the end, their class ensured a hard-earned win.

Top scorers for Energywise Ne

Top scorers for Energywise Neptune Ireland: J Blount 26, J Evans 20, X Arriaga 13, N Sabata 10.

Moycullen: G Olsson 31, M Dargan 14, D Cunningham 10, A Taylan 7.

NEPTUNE: G Walsh, K O’Donoghue, R Downey, C Heaphy, A Heaphy, J Evans, X Arriaga, N Sabata, J Blount, C Leahy, K Garcia, K Scott.

MOYCULLEN: D McDonogh, G Olsson, M Dargan, K Nugent, R O’Sullivan, J Tummon, B Gaffney, K Cunningham, D Cunningham, D Kenna, A Taylon.

Referees: M Nazami (Mullingar), G Daly (Cork).

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