Rebel Wheelers 65 Southeast Swifts 28
CORK side Rebel Wheelers remain on course to win their fourth consecutive IWA National Cup basketball championship following a comfortable win over Southeast Swifts at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.
In truth, the gulf in class between the sides was large as the Wheelers had basically far more experienced and quality players in their squad.
For coach Alan Dineen it was a satisfactory performance but he will be demanding a far more polished display in the final.
“We played well in snatches but in fairness to our opponents Southeast Swifts they battled really hard but in reality, we missed a lot of easy baskets that we would normally execute.
“We have a solid squad and we are looking to the final where it would be a great achievement to win it for the fourth consecutive year.”
Rebel Wheelers missed a few early scoring opportunities before Conor Coughlan nailed one free throw in the second minute that was followed by an excellent Jack Quinn basket.
It was evident the Cork side were far too classy in the early exchanges and although they only commanded a five-point lead in the fourth minute it was clear they were still in first gear.
Gradually the Swifts outfit got going with four minutes remaining in this period with a superb Patrick O’Neill bank shot.
The introduction of Dylan McCarthy improved the Wheelers in the offence court as their opponents struggled big time in that department.
The Wheelers looked disappointed at the end of the quarter as they only commanded a 14-5 lead entering the second quarter.
The introduction of the former Neptune ace Adam Drummond for the restart proved a nostalgic one following his life-changing accident in 2021. It was evident Drummond has the class to make a huge contribution in IWA basketball but his encouragement off-court is proving a huge hit with his teammates too.
McCarthy was the one player posing the Southeast team problems but as the quarter matured it became evident the Wheelers were going to win this game without too many problems.
In the closing minutes, Wheelers continued to pile the pressure on and looked in a comfortable position at the break when commanding a 28-13 lead.
On the restart the Cork outfit continued to dominate as the skills of captain Jack Quinn were a sight to behold and midway through the quarter, they had extended their lead to 25 points following a superb Conor Coughlan basket.
Credit to the Swifts they continued to battle but they had a mountain to climb heading into the final period when they trailed 44-24.
Coming down the stretch it was a case of the Wheelers closing out the game as coach Dineen could afford to use various rotations with the biggest coming from a long-range Drummond shot.
It certainly was a good morning at the Blackpool venue for the Leesiders as they can now go in search of their coveted fourth title.