Irish Basketball Super League
DBS Éanna 89 Belfast Star 83
Super League champions Belfast Star will round off their regular season with two tough away trips to Dublin that will determine whether they can secure home advantage in the Super League playoffs.
First up is a trip to UCD Marian on Saturday night, followed by a visit to Templeogue the following weekend.
Star have already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs of course but will want the added boost of home-court advantage as they have been totally dominant in the La Salle gym of late, unbeaten there since late October.
Nailing down at least a second-place finish in the League’s Northern Conference will ensure that they will play in front of their home fans as they seek to defend their Super League crown.
Star’s recent run of eight wins in nine games came to a halt last weekend when they fell to DBS Éanna who took revenge for a good Star home win over the Dublin side the previous week.
In another tough battle between the Conference’s top two, Star ultimately paid the cost for a poor third quarter when it seemed nothing would drop for them.
The first half had been level pegging for the most part but late scoring from Éanna gave them a five-point cushion at the break.
Star then began the third energetically but failed to score on numerous possessions, allowing Éanna to surge to a 13-point lead.
The visitors managed to regroup in the final quarter with Max Cooper, Austin Beech and Conor Quinn scoring well to leave just three points in it as the clock ticked down to 44 seconds. A dramatic comeback seemed just about possible for the visitors but Éanna then hit a crucial triple and were relieved to take the win in the end.
Star need to now focus on their two crucial away games. Both UCD Marian and Templeogue secured wins in La Salle early in the season when Star had yet to develop any consistent form.
Since then, however, Star have been bolstered by the introduction of American Shon Briggs and the return of big man Liam Pettigrew who has played a significant role in recent victories.
Top scorers for Star were Max Cooper 24, Conor Quinn 17, Austin Beech 16 and Shon Briggs 13.
Star’s preparations for last week’s clash with Éanna went ahead with both Conor Quinn and head coach Adrian Fulton away on international duty with Ireland.
The Irish side ran fancied Switzerland close out in Fribourg midweek before losing 83-72. They then overcame Cyprus after overtime in Dublin’s National Stadium on Sunday on a score of 83-75, a result that still leaves Ireland in the mix to qualify for the Eurobasket 2025 finals.