Basketball Ireland Super League
Belfast Star 91 DCU Saints 73
Belfast Star 75 Neptune 74
BELFAST Star look forward to their final home game of the regular season this Saturday in La Salle on the back of two big home wins over the weekend.
Adrian Fulton’s side now lie in second place in the league’s Northern Conference and will face first-placed DBS Éanna in the race to secure a spot in the Super League play-offs.
Star’s final two away games against UCD Marian and Templeogue will then determine if they remain in with a chance to retain their Super League title.
It certainly has been an inspiring few weeks for Star recently as they continue to build momentum at the business end of the season.
The introduction of American Shon Briggs and the return from injury of Liam Pettigrew have added considerable steel on both offence and defence and both men contributed handsomely to their side’s double-header successes at the weekend.
Dominic Lynn and Darragh Ferguson are others who have stepped up to give coach Fulton even more positive options from the bench, while Jonny Foulds is displaying his best form of the season.
Foulds and Briggs dominated the scoring for Star against DCU Saints on Saturday night in a game which was closer than the final 91-73 margin would suggest.
After an even first quarter, Star pulled away in the second only to see Saints build a 12-4 run at the beginning of the third to bring it back to just a one-point lead for Star.
It remained nip and touch early in the fourth until Briggs, Pettigrew and Conor Ryan helped their side coast through the final minutes.
The wins keep coming. A nail-biting finish and great defence sees us over the line against Neptune 75-74. Massive performances from everyone especially stand-in Captain Conor Quinn 22, Max Cooper 19 and Jonny Foulds 12. A super game - beat that, Superbowl!! pic.twitter.com/rVIx8VCyXo— Belfast Star (@BelfastStar64) February 13, 2022
On Sunday afternoon against Neptune, however, Star were certainly not allowed the luxury of coasting to a win.
Instead, it was a heart-stopping final few seconds as the Cork side sought the basket that would give them a big comeback victory. Star’s defence, though, had other ideas and somehow kept the visitors at bay, not allowing them to get any shot away in the dying moments.
After a pretty even first half of the game, Star had produced an electrifying start to the third quarter, going on an unanswered burst that shot them to a 12-point lead. Neptune rallied, however, but were still seven points down going into the fourth.
The visitors continued to nibble away at the scoreboard, though, and a three-pointer from Spaniard Aleix Tarradellas made it a one-point game inside the final minute.
Star failed to score on their next offence and then had to play the defence of their lives to prevent Neptune stealing the win.
Speaking about the Neptune win, Coach Fulton said: “I thought that was a very good game - two well-matched teams and it could have gone either way.
“We probably should have put Neptune away when we were up by 12 but the free throws we missed almost cost us.
“Conor Quinn was terrific at both ends of the floor, but it was a pretty balanced team effort and we’ve had a great spark from the bench.”
Quinn, who was stand-in captain on the night, led the Star scoring against Neptune with 22. Next was Max Cooper on 18 while Shon Briggs hit 21 against Saints, supported by Jonny Foulds on 18.
Star next play DBS Éanna in La Salle on Saturday at 6.30pm.