Éanna tame gritty Lions

DBS ÉANNA shot out of the blocks in their National Basketball League Division One title quest as they beat Abbey Seals Dublin Lions 62-78 on the opening day of the season in Coláiste Bríde on Saturday.

Dropping down from the heights of the Super League after last season, the Rathfarnham side used that experience to good effect and had eight points on the board without response within the opening two minutes.

Dublin Lions V Eanna 16

Their new Serbian forward Stefan Zecevic made a big impact on proceedings both in terms of scoring and in helping to limit Lions danger man Garrett Collins to 21 points.

Zecevic, himself, chalked up the same amount as the visitors remained out in front throughout the match despite the Lions making serious inroads into their advantage at times.

“We got a good start and went eight points up, but then they came out of the box and put some solid defence on us,” recalled Eanna Head Coach Darren McGovern.

“We led throughout the game, but they would crawl back in to. When we got to the fourth quarter there was only three points in it and it could have gone either way.

“But I think our superior experience and size helped us stay in front.

“Stefan was great for us. He had 21 points and that was from only seven shots. I think he had nine rebounds. He’s our main scoring threat,” he added.

Up by 11 points at the break, Eanna managed to keep their Clondalkin opponents at bay for the most part with Joshua Wilson and Conor Gallagher combining for 26 points.

For Lions Igor Markiewicz was in fine form and emerged with 18 to his name, helping his side stay in the reckoning for much of this tie.

Yet Neil Lynch, who along with Gallagher, remained on with Eanna after their drop-down from Super League, registered a three-pointer that pushed their lead out to 13 in the final quarter.

It effectively killed off the Lions challenge and leaves Eanna on a sound footing ahead of their next outing against Ulster University Elks in Coláiste Eánna on Saturday.

“There is room for improvement,” insisted McGovern. “We’ve got to focus more on our own game, scoring more points and not conceding as many.

“It’s been something of a feature in our game in pre-season where we make a great start and then allow teams back in. That’s something we’re going to have to work on,” he stressed.

Lions coach Rob White believes there’s more to come from his side, saying, “The players worked hard and they didn’t give up, but we didn’t do ourselves justice on the day.

“We got it back to four points at one stage in the third quarter and we were looking good, but they just pulled away again. They made it very difficult for us,” he admitted.

Next up for them will be a trip to Greendale on Saturday to face another former Super League outfit KUBS who themselves lost out in overtime 77-72 in another Dublin derby against Tolka on Saturday.

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