A crunch top-of-the-table clash between local basketball outfit Maree and Swords Thunder takes place on Saturday in Calasanctius College (7.45pm).
Maree will look to extend their winning streak to eight and stay top of the National League’s first division, but the visitors will arrive with other ideas. Just four points behind Maree, the Dublin outfit still has an eye on this season’s title, but Maree, with the benefit of one bonus point, remain in the driving seat with just three fixtures remaining.
Last Saturday evening the local side passed a tough examination in Castleisland when overcoming St Mary’s 75-67.
Ken Hansberry hit 21 points for the winners, while John Galvin recorded 26 for St Mary’s.
Cathal Finn hit two three-pointers for Maree in the first quarter, helping the Galway team to an 18-12 lead. While five Maree players scored for Maree, it was St Mary’s John Galvin who proved a real handful, drawing fouls and scoring nine for the Kerry side.
Matt Hornbuckle scored eight points in the second quarter, Maree’s lead had been cut to three, at 30-27. However Maree turned it on in the third, outscoring their hosts 26-13, with Ken Hansberry good for nine.
Going into the final period ahead 56-40, Maree looked secure, but St Mary’s had other ideas, and with Maree’s Colm O’Hagan and Matt Hornbuckle fouling out, the lead was gradually eroded. With two minutes remaining there was just one basket in it, but a big defensive rebound from Darren Callanan ensured Maree won possession back after a failed St Mary’s effort to tie the scores. Baskets from Liam Conroy, Pádraig Burke and Ken Hansberry settled the nerves as Maree pulled away to a gritty 75-67 win.
Maree: Darren Callanan, David Hansberry (2), Liam Conroy (13), Charlie Crowley, Matt Hornbuckle (11), Ken Hansberry (22), Colm O’Hagan (5), James Brophy, Pádraig Burke (12), Cathal Finn (10).