Irish Basketball Super League

Ballincollig 92 Belfast Star 87

(After overtime)

Belfast Star suffered only their second Super League defeat of the season after losing 92-87 after overtime in Ballincollig last Saturday afternoon.

In a hard-fought game that went to overtime, the lead changed hands no less than 13 times. 

Adrian Fulton’s side began the game well and held a narrow lead until the final two minutes of the first quarter when the Cork side went on a six point run to end it four points head, 20-16.

Indeed, it was to be a game of dominating runs by either side. During the second quarter, Ballincollig had raced to a 10-point lead before a three-pointer from Star captain Conor Quinn inspired an eight-point run from the visitors that brought the half-time margin to just two, 40-38.

A fine three-pointer by Max Richardson edged Star in front midway through a low-scoring opening period of the third where defences held the upper hand. 

However, scores then came thick and fast in the final few minutes of the quarter with Ballincollig conjuring up a 12-point run to lead by one going into the fourth, 56-55.

With the game on a knife-edge, both sides dialled up the excitement in a pulsating final quarter. Ballincollig looked to have the game in their pocket when they opened up a nine-point lead with just three minutes to go, 72-63. 

Star, however, dug deep to mount a significant surge and with just 26 seconds left a two-pointer from De’Ondre Jackson brought the game level for the ninth time at 74 apiece and tee-ed up five minutes of overtime.

Ballincollig’s Andre Nation – a thorn in Star’s side for the whole of the game – was quick to put the Corkmen ahead in the opening seconds of OT and it inspired a run that saw them go seven in front.

That proved to be a lead that Star failed to make any real impact on and the home side were relieved to eventually take the points and maintain their challenge for top spot in the Southern Conference of the League.

Top scorers for Star were Tamyrik Fields on 23, De’Ondre Jackson on 19, and Conor Quinn on 14. Aidan Quinn and Frenki Lelaj had 10 points apiece.

Next up for Star is a home game with another Cork side, National Cup winners UCC Demons. Adrian Fulton’s men will be hoping to keep their 100 per cent home record against the side they lost to in the Cup quarter-final. That game tips at 6.30pm in the Newforge Arena.

Meanwhile, Ulster University remain bottom of the standings as Pyrobel Killester ran out comfortable 98-76 winners at Jordanstown Sports Village.

Troy Simons and Kason Harrell each served up 25 points for the visitors, while Gregorio Encarnacion made his presence felt under the boards with 19 points and 16 rebounds.

There was also disappointment for UU’s women as they fell to a 73-51 against the same opposition. 

Jiselle Thomas top-scored on 25 for the visitors, while Claire Melia and Keowa Walters each provided 16 points and 13 rebounds to help the Dubliners keep pace with FloMAX Liffey Celtics at the summit.