UCC Demons got their Men’s SuperLeague off to winning start with a comfortable 100-88 away win over great rivals C & S Neptune.
Demons were quickest from the blocks and five three-pointers in the opening quarter helped them lead 25-22 entering the second quarter.
Demons continued to shoot the ball well and with Latvian Gurts Lazdans showing deft touches, they were still in command at the break, leading 44-40.
The class and experience of Demons resurfaced on the restart and with man of the match Kyle Hosford (28) and Carleton Cuff (20) simply awesome, they were soon in total control as they extended their lead to nine points.
Coming down the stretch Neptune coach Paul Kelleher made various substitutions but this night belonged to Demons who saw out the game with relative ease.
For Demons player coach Colin O’Reilly it was a night to savour for his inexperienced side.
O’Reilly said: “We were written off by a few pundits but in reality it’s only the first game of the season and although we won, our execution wasn’t where it should be.
“Defensively we will have to improve, especially against the bigger sides, but on the other side of the coin we shot the ball reasonably well.”
The Sunday’s Well outfit were decimated in the off-season but new signings Latvian Girts Lazdans and American Brandon Watts showed enough to suggest they will pose teams problems.
O’Reilly added: “To score 100 points away from home is great and as our pre-season preparations were not as good as I would have liked, our togetherness as a squad was evident when we had to dig deeper.”
The mood in the Neptune camp was naturally one of disappointment as coach Paul Kelleher reflected on their performance.
Kelleher said: “Despite what other people thought prior to the game I knew we would struggle to defeat this Demons side because if you know basketball you should know you cannot beat experience.”
Kelleher felt his side battled hard but were knocked out of their stride when they got back in the game.
Kelleher added: “When we did get a run or two Demons executed everything perfectly and my guys failed to respond but that comes with experience.”
The Neptune American, Lehmon Colbert, who spent four years with UCC Demons, had a bad night at the office and spent more than half the game sitting on the bench.
We have two Americans and both are different as Lehmon isn’t suited to a pressing game, but look it’s only the first match of the season and there is little doubt this game will help us going forward,” concluded Kelleher.
Champions UCD Marian got their campaign off to a winning start when they overcame a resilient DCU Saints 75-68.
In a game that was competitive from tip-off, the shooting of Conor Meany ensured Marian led 41-35 at the break.
In the second half, despite Saints’ gallant efforts, they failed to peg back the champions, much to the disappointment of coach Joey Boylan.
He said: “I couldn’t fault the effort of my players as they left everything on the floor and I think we can have a reasonable season if we adapt the same attitude in all our games.”
The Tralee Sports complex was full 30 minutes before tip-off for the clash between Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and Keanes Supervalu Killorglin in the first ever Kerry derby between these clubs at this level.
After a nail-biting game, the bragging rights went to Killorglin who ran out 89-96 winners, with American Pierre Newton leading the scoring for the winners with a 34-point contribution.
Templeogue also got their season off to a winning start when they overcame a highly-rated Belfast Star side 88-72.
The Dublin side led 40-34 at the interval but tremendous work at the post by Jason Killeen in the second half saw the Dubliners take maximum points in style.
Moycullen can thank a 24-point contribution from American Isaiah Harris Winn for their Galway 66-59 win over Maree.
Title favourites Killester got their season off to a flyer when winning 86-81 away to Griffith Swords Thunder.
American Royce Williams, in his second season with the Clontarf club, led the scoring on 32 points.
In the Men’s Division One, Ballincollig maintained their unbeaten run when comfortably disposing of Limerick Celtics 88-66.