Neptune take control

DEFENDING champions Neptune added to St Vincent’s woes by inflicting a second defeat of the weekend on them in Glasnevin as the new conference structure in Irish basketball went into its first series of crossover games.

Neptune are top of the South Conference with eight points from five games, alongside Horans Health Store Tigers from Tralee, the only unbeaten team in the competition, who had a free weekend and are joint table toppers with a game in hand as a result.

Up north, Hibernian UCD Marian top the table with eight points from their five games played, two clear of Dart Killester who have a game in hand. St Vincent’s not only lost 81-61 to Hibernian UCD Marian, but lost Mike Phenizee to a dislocated shoulder and had a number of players disqualified after a serious bust-up.

All the players must now go before the National Competitions Committee to decide on what sanctions may be imposed.

None of this helped Vincents prepare for Neptune, who took control of the game early on, led by 13 points at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

With Gamble scoring 32 points, Watson 32 and Langrell hitting 20, Neptune went on to win comfortably by 120-100.

Anyone who went along to the Mardyke Arena hoping for a repeat of the ESB National Cup final between Mardyke UCC Demons and Star were bitterly disappointed as the Cork club collected the points on an 87-65 scoreline.

MDS Star were without Gareth Maguire and had Adrian Fulton suffering from jet lag. Torrey Butler top scored for the winners with 25 pts, Marc Michiels had 18 and Niall O’Reilly scored 11 while ever reliable John Leahy top scored for Star with 15 points.

A strong final quarter from BurgerKing Limerick saw them a three point victory over Tolka Rovers (98-101) to keep their interest very much alive.

A high scoring first quarter saw Kenny McFarland and newcomer, Keith Friel hit nine points apiece for Limerick but, still, Tolka edged clear to lead 24-23.

And the home side went on to dominate the second quarter and increase their lead to 56-41 at half time.

The third quarter saw BurgerKing cut the deficit to five points but when Tolka rallied again and regained an 11 point lead going into the final period, they appeared to be home and dry.

Limerick came out strong in the final quarter with fine shooting from Liam Farrell and Friel levelling the game at 89 points each with 2.30 on the clock.

Limerick played hard in the final minute to shade a narrow victory but, unfortunately, it was marred somewhat when Keith Friel picked up an injury late in the game which could see coach Tom Hehir seeking out yet another replacement during the coming week.

Coach Mark Scannell was left wondering just what had happened after Gleneagle Lakers relinquished a 12 point half-time lead over Hibernian UCD Marian who put the finishing touches to a good weekend with an 81-74 victory.

Dejan Smith was on fire for Killarney, dominating the boards throughout that productive first half at the end of which they enjoyed a 12 point lead. However, Marian rallied to pull it back to five at the end of the third quarter, and Lakers couldn’t plug the leaks in the closing minutes.

In the ESB women’s SuperLeague Bausch & Lomb Wildcats held on for a valuable three point victory over Dart Killester (63-60), despite the early blow of losing captain, Olivia O’Reilly, with a knee injury.

A superb opening performance from Diane Griffin and Sarah Cartmill laid the foundation for Scruffy’s St Paul’s victory over Tolka Rovers. They led 35-23 at half-time.

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