Basketball Ireland Super League 

Templeogue 83-78 Belfast Star

Belfast Star head coach Adrian Fulton will look for his side to keep momentum going right to the end of games as his side faces Dublin visitors Éanna in La Salle on Saturday night.

Star served up another fine performance in Dublin last weekend but faltered down the stretch in a thrilling game where the sides remained within a score of each other throughout. 

 

In many ways, the game was a replica of Star’s victory in Tralee the previous week – two well matched teams exchanging the lead until one team faltered in the final moments.

This time, it was Star’s turn to fall just short. With 12 seconds to go the visitors had possession and needed a big three to tie the game but a well-marshalled Templeogue defence stood firm when it mattered most.

Star coach Adrian Fulton afterwards said that his side will need to raise their level as they head into a three-game home series against Éanna, newcomers Sligo All-Stars and then another clash with Templeogue in the National Cup. 

“We need to put a bit of work together now on staying the distance and sticking to the gameplan going down the stretch. This is a highly competitive conference so there’s little room for error. But I know there is still a lot more to come from this team,” he said.

Star began the game well with the starting five of Conor Quinn, Conor Johnston, Shon Briggs and the two Maxs – Cooper and Richardson – all notching scores within the first few minutes. Aidan Quinn also contributed to leave Star ahead by a point at the end of the first, 23-24.

New man Jonathan James of London got his first significant Super League minutes at the start of the second period and immediately made an impact, delighting the travelling Star fans with his silky runs and accuracy.

Indeed, within minutes of being introduced, he hit nine consecutive points to just three from Templeogue. However, the home side then went on their own run to edge in front at the half, 46-45.

The nip-and-tuck continued throughout the third with the visitors’ scoring dominated by Shon Briggs as both Richardson and Cooper struggled with the home defence. Templeogue then appeared to be taking a 4-point lead into the fourth before Star captain Conor Johnston pegged it back to just one with a buzzer-beating three. 65-64 to the home side.

Jonathan James levelled the game early in the fourth before a big three from Conor Quinn sent Star ahead. More three-pointers were traded as the game wound towards the end, Templeogue keeping their nose in front by the slimmest of margins.

Conor Johnston then dropped another of his trademark threes to put Star ahead again before a series of free-throws from Templeogue’s captain Lorcan Murphy left Star needing a big three to tie it in the dying seconds, but ultimately falling short.

Top scorers for Star were Jonathan James on 21, Shon Briggs 18, Conor Quinn 15, and Conor Johnston on 13.

Star versus Éanna tips off at 6.30pm on Saturday evening in the La Salle hall.