Basketball Ireland Suoper League
UCC Demons 110-104 Belfast Star
AFTER three straight losses on the road, Belfast Star will be hoping to close out their regular season with a home win over Templeogue this Saturday evening in La Salle’s Sports Hall.

With their play-offs place secured, Adrian Fulton will certainly want his side to head to the knockout stages with a good win to maintain their 100 per cent record in ‘fortress’ La Salle and boost confidence ahead of the next crunch tie ahead.

Templeogue though, coached by Fulton’s Ireland colleague Mark Keenan, will come to Belfast with full belief and will hope to sign their season off with another good showing after last week’s staggering 31-point victory margin over Neptune – a side who outlasted Star the previous week. 

In Cork last weekend, a slow start against Demons was to prove costly for Star in the end. 

Indeed, if the visitors had known that they would tally more than 100 points on the day, they would certainly have expected to be leaving the southern capital with a win. 

However, that sluggish first half in the Mardyke Arena saw Fulton’s men down by 12 points at the break, 40-52. 

For the second week in a row, early foul trouble for Max Richardson saw the Englishman spend more time on the Star bench than was planned for those first 20 minutes. 
With Demons raining in eight three-pointers in that time, the signs were ominous for the Belfast side.

But a half-time talk from Fulton and assistant coach Gerard Ryan saw a different Star emerge to bring the game to the boil in the third quarter with a fine reponse. 

With Ricardson back on the court, and with American Shon Briggs at his battling best for much of the third, Star silenced the home crowd with an 18-8 run in the first five minutes of the quarter. 

A big triple from evergreen team captain Conor Johnston then tied it at 61 each before Briggs edged Star in front with a free throw. 

Demons responded, however, and some slack play from Star allowed the home side to go into the final 10 minutes at 78-70.  

Demons pressed home their advantage early in the fourth and despite three big three-pointers from Aidan and Conor Quinn, the Lee-siders were a full 19 points ahead with five minutes to go, 98-79.

Yet again though, Star found the grit to quickly whittle down the home lead. Richardson, Johnston and new American Pierre Carter hit triples to tighten things up and then a Conor Quinn three managed to bring it back to only a four-point margin with just seconds left. 

Ultimately however, Star had left their comeback a fraction late and Demons closed it out from the line. 

The Cork crowd were treated to a huge 28- triples in the game, 14 for each side, in a game that left the visitors defeated but not necessarily down. 

“No, we can’t be down after a game like that,” said Adrian Fulton at the end. 

“The lads never stopped but we didn’t take enough of our chances in the first half. 

“We had a chat at the break and successfully changed things around and then we just ran out of time towards the end. 

“Now we have to knuckle down and prepare for Templeogue in front of our home fans who have been terrific for us throughout the season.”

Top scorers for Star were Max Richardson on 20, Pierre Carter on 19, Shon Briggs on 17 and Aidan Quinn on 15. 

Star’s game against Templeogue tips at 6.30pm in La Salle on Saturday evening.