After the big win in the local derby against Athlone Basketball Club the previous week, AIT men’s basketball team returned to the Colleges League for a must win game against Waterford IT.
As both teams were yet to record a win in this year’s league, the pressure was on them to perform. AIT started the brighter, with talismanic centre Alberto Viggiano getting the team’s first few scores with great drives to the basket. This forced the Waterford team to concentrate their defensive efforts on stopping him, which in turn afforded room to the outside shooters, with Cathal Gill hitting a brace of long range three pointers. The quarter finished with AIT in the lead by 19 to 9.
AIT switched off the intensity on defence and allowed Waterford back into the game in the second quarter. Their captain hit three pointers to bring his team right back into the game. Alan Jennings and Alessandro Cornacchia carried the offensive threats, punishing any defensive lapses with easy scores around the key. Ken Ighor and Rory Doyle set the tone defensively for AIT, grabbing big boards and forcing the opposition into turnovers. The quarter finished with AIT leading by 35 to 30.
AIT stepped up the intensity in the third quarter, which is becoming their trademark. John Evans and Giovanni Di Mauro had a series of fast break scores to open up the lead once again. Wei Xiaogang was making his presence felt on the defensive end with some big rebounds and quick passes to get the fast break going. Richard Grier provided a steady hand on the offensive side, controlling the pace of the game and creating easy scoring opportunities for his teammates. The quarter finished with AIT pulling ahead, 57 to 36.
In the last quarter, Alessandro Cerato and Saimon Yehdego provided much needed energy to the team and their introduction was met with delight from the large home support. Although behind on the scoreboard, Waterford never gave up and kept fighting till the end of the game. The game finished with an AIT victory, by 63 to 42.
The men’s team return to the club league on Monday, December 4, when they play Longford Torpedoes in a top of the table clash. This match could go a long way to deciding the winner of the league. On Thursday, December 7, the team make the long journey to Sligo All Stars.