In a game where little separated the teams for long periods the shooting of Dan James (25) broke the hearts of the Warriors as Marian held out for the all-important win.
Marian stalwart Conor Meany said it was a true test of his teams’ character: “In fairness to Tralee Warriors they battled from start to finish and we had to shoot the ball exceptionally well to stay in the game.
“The league is by no means over as we have some difficult games to come but a defeat in this game would have hurt us big time.”
The mood in the Tralee camp was one of disappointment. Coach Mark Bernsen said: “It was a close, tense game and although we made it difficult for their big guys the outside shooting of Dan James hurt us badly.”
Griffith College Swords Thunder kept within striking distance when easily accounting for Moycullen 81-61.
The westerners tested Swords’ mettle for three quarters but coming down the stretch the Dublin side found their shooting rhythm with American Conroy Baltimore finishing with 16 points.
There were scenes of joy and relief at Greendale where Kubs won their first game of the season against DCU Saints 87-86.
The basement side led 41-40 at the break and with American Brian Andrews having a 40-point contribution they held to win by the minimum.
It has been a tough season for Kubs player-coach Eoin Chubb, but he was delighted they have at last been rewarded for their efforts.
Chubb said: “We had to dig deep but in recent weeks there has been a marked improvement and tonight was always going to happen for us.”
Templeogue found the going rather tough for long periods against Belfast Star before eventually prevailing 74-70.
The outside shooting of Conor Quinn hurt Templeogue as the northerners surged into a 13-point interval lead 43-30.
Star still led 54-50 entering the fourth quarter but Templeogue responded to the wake-up call and wore down their opponents in the closing minutes. Coach Darren O’Neill said Star should have been able to close out the game: “Templeogue hung in and eventually found their shooting range.”
Maree are another side that have progressed as the season matured but despite another heroic home performance they went down 79-72 to Killester. The westerners led 39-35 at the break but in the second half Killester’s Royce Williams shot the lights out as they ground out a win.
UCC Demons needed a late Adrian O’Sullivan basket to dispose of Eanna 74-73.
In the Women’s Super League leaders Liffey Celtics had an impressive win in Waterford when overcoming WIT Wildcats 73-47.
The biggest shock of the weekend saw Singleton’s Supervalu Brunell defeat DCU Mercy 78-75 in a thrilling game at the Parochial Hall.
Brunell trailed 41-36 at the break but rallied in the second half and with Americans Breana Bey and Maddie Ganser excelling they held out for a famous win.
IT Carlow defeated Portlaoise Panthers 70-59 and Killester had little difficulty disposing of basement side NUIG Mystics 95-38.
- Neptune are mourning founding member Donal O’Donoghue. Neptune was founded in 1947 and Donal played on the first club team. Donal went on to become the club’s chairman and president. A club statement online said: “The O’Donoghue family are synonymous with Neptune Basketball Club and we offer our condolences to all his family at this difficult time.”