Templeogue shoot down Star in season opener

TEMPLEOGUE Basketball team shot out of the blocks and up to top spot in the Men’s Super League after they stormed to an 88-72 point victory over a dogged Belfast Star in the Oblate Hall on Saturday night.

Mark Keenan’s side did a lot of the heavy lifting in the opening quarter, racing into a 13 point advantage, but their visitors to Inchicore fought their way back to within a score of their hosts, before the current National Cup holders took off again in the final period.

Templeogue V Belfast Star 01

With Belfast having made the final of Templeogue’s pre-season international tournament, the Reds knew they would have to hit the ground running and Keenan was very pleased with the attitude shown by his players.

“We knew Star were in very good form coming out of pre-season,” he told The Echo. “They’re a good all-round team so we knew that we had to be really up for it and we got a great start.

“We did a lot of the damage in the first quarter, but then we had a sloppy three-minute period in the second and that allowed them to get it back to six points by halftime.

“But we refocused again and got ourselves motoring. We made some great defensive stops especially when, coming into the fourth quarter, they got it back to three.

“We responded well and I think we got six or seven points on the trot. That really broke their back and we closed it out from there.

“It was a closer game that what the final scoreline suggests. But, look, Sar had a very good Slovenian, Mark Berlic who was eligible to play and, even though he top scored for them on 22 points, I think we did a good job on him.

“And we did a great job too on their American Mike Davis who only had 12 points. He’s a very tricky customer.

“We rotated well between Stephen James and Puff Summers, who had one of his strongest games for us. Jason [Killeen] did really well all-round and our new signing Padraig Burke gave us great energy.

“Our new American, Cortlin Davis, while he didn’t have his best game offensively, did really well for us defensively and Luke Thompson hit about six or seven points for us when we were under pressure so everyone stepped up,” he said.

Now top of the table on points difference, Templeogue will be looking to maintain this early momentum when they travel to Galway on Saturday to take on a Maree outfit that suffered a seven-point loss at the hands of Moycullen in their season opener.

Still Keenan will not be taking this challenge lightly, saying, “They [Maree] beat us in their own pre-season tournament so our players will be up for this match.”

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