Ryan Leonard shows the way for Tralee Warriors

47th Castleisland Christmas Blitz - Garveys Tralee Warriors 55 Keanes SuperValu Killorglin 45: Superleague outfit Tralee Warriors inspired by the brilliance of young guard Ryan Leonard proved too strong for a brave Keanes Supervalu Killorglin who top the National League Division 1, in the final of the Premier Mens Final, played before a full house at the Castleisland Community Centre last night.

Warriors were always in control with Ryan Leonard, son of former Tralee Tigers star Rick, ensuring that it was a quick transition game with Kieran Donaghy and Goran Pantovic dominant in the paint.

Killorglin were overreliant on their American Damon Jones who had a game high of 18 points and Bosman Garny Garcia who netted 10.

A three-pointer from Trae Pemberton gave Warriors a 9-6 lead early in the first half but then Jones (5) and Garcia (4) saw Keanes jump 15-11 ahead with Kieran Donaghy getting the Warriors sole reply.

Donaghy added three more and when Leonard levelled at 15-15 after a technical on a Killorglin player, Warriors were never to fall behind again as they led 31-26 at half time.

The second period saw Warriors assume control. With Leonard on fire, they moved eight clear and despite the efforts of Jones and Declan Wall, the SuperLeague side had too much firepower with a Pemberton three-pointer giving his side a 12 point lead with less than five to go and Garveys Warriors coasted to an emphatic win with Leonard getting the MVP award.

TOP SCORERS:

GARVEYS WARRIORS: R Leonard 15, T Pemberton 9, K Donaghy 8.

Keanes SuperValu Killorglin: D Jones 18, G Garcia 10, D Wall 9.

Meanwhile in a thrilling semi-final Warriors had to dig deep to overcome fellow Super League side GCD Swords Thunder 43-41 after one period of overtime.

Kieran Donaghy kept Warriors in front in the opening half with 7 points while Ryan Leonard had 6 as Warriors led 21-15, but a 9-0 run by Thunder thanks to some excellent work by Jose Maria Gil Narbon and Alex Dolenko resulted in Thunder leading 24-21 at half time.

Alex Calvexe appeared to secure a final spot for holders Thunder with two from the free throw line with 25 seconds left but Trae Pemberton drilled an incredible three pointer with 5.4 seconds left to force overtime.

A three pointer from Charlie Coombes again had Thunder in the driving seat but Pemberton thanks to a Donaghy assist, scored a basket as he fell and added the bonus point from the free-throw line, as Warriors escaped to 43-41 victory after a thriller that had the packed Castleisland Community Hall in raptures.



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