Irish Basketball Super League
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 81-87 Belfast Star
BELFAST Star are on the road again this weekend when they visit Dublin’s Templeogue - a journey they will make brimming with confidence after last week’s massive come-from-behind win over defending champions Garvey’s Tralee Warriors. 

In a raucous Tralee gym, the biggest clash of the weekend served up a heady mix of brilliance,  guts and considerable ill-discipline from the home favourites as the visitors staged a terrific late rally to stun the local supporters on the night.

 

Central to Star’s win were high-scoring inputs from Shon Briggs and Max Richardson, and an imperious performance from Conor Quinn at point who marshalled his side with mature calm when cool heads were needed going down an incredibly tense stretch at the end.

It wasn’t Star’s victory on the night that raised eyebrows – it was the manner of that win that got Ireland’s basketball fraternity talking.

After two opening periods in which the sides cancelled  each other out, Star began the third quarter one point ahead of Warriors, 46-45, and would have felt confident that they would continue to go at least point-for-point with the home side right to the end.

However, a blistering 16-2 run by Tralee at the beginning of the third soon put that notion to bed. Suddenly, the Warriors were well ahead and in complete control. 

Star’s confidence seemed to disappear and was further wounded when a technical was awarded against  Max Cooper mid-way through the period after which he then sat out large chunks of the action.

Tralee went on to easily take the third quarter on a margin of 30-15 to leave a fourteen-point gap between the sides heading into the final ten minutes, 75-61 to Warriors.

Game over? You might have thought so. But Briggs, Richardson, Conor Quinn and young Darragh Ferguson then sparked the Star revival early in the fourth, all contributing to a 17-4 run that suddenly silenced the home support. 

Star’s surge also seemed to really get to the Tralee players as tempers began to fray. 
GAA star Kieran Donaghy quickly fouled out in the opening minutes of the quarter after a technical. Indeed, Donaghy had only joined the game in the second period after coming directly from an Austin Stacks fixture that went to extra time.

Jason Quigley was next to foul out, again after a technical. 

With Star now just three points behind, a triple technical sent Conor Quinn to the free throw line where he converted all of his shots to tie the game on 81-apiece.

Amazingly, two more technicals sent Quinn to the line yet again and Star edged in front. 

With the game now in the melting pot, Tralee’s indiscipline continued and both Briggs and Quinn punished the home side from the line to drive home a terrific turnaround in a game that exhausted players, coaches and fans alike.

After catching his breath, head coach Adrian Fulton modestly downplayed the win.

“To be fair, it wasn’t a great performance overall,” he said.

“Yes, we did play great in stretches, but we need to be more consistent as the season moves forward.

“Warriors are a very talented team, and they gave us loads of problems. But our players deserve massive credit for digging us out of a big hole on the road. 

“Conor Quinn was terrific throughout and so too really was the entire bench who all contributed well. Look, Tralee  is a tough place to come to and when you leave town with a win you have to be happy.”

Top scorers for Star were Shon Briggs on 25, Conor Quinn on 22 and Max Richardson on 20.