Maree Basketball Club will enjoy the Christmas break after its senior men and women’s sides recorded another double at the weekend.
The men followed up their win over Superleague leaders Belfast Star the previous weekend with a 91-84 win over Killorglin of Kerry in Oranmore on Saturday.
The win lifts the side up to ninth in the table, moving them six point clear of the relegation spot. Also within six points of the top four, and with confidence high in the squad, Maree can now fancy their chances of edging closer to the play-off spots over the Christmas with games against two other sides also in the bottom half of the table.
Mike Lynch’s side laid the groundwork for their win over the Kerry side in the first-half on Saturday, taking a 12-point (51-39 ) lead in a game which saw four of its players hit double figures, and eight players in all finding the basket.
Their Dutch player, Niels Bunschoten, was the dominant force on the court, ending the game with 21 points and 11 rebounds, though he had plenty of support from Paul Freeman (12 points, 10 rebounds ) and Eoin Rockall (17 points, three steals ).
They did have their traditional wobble in the third quarter when Killorglin closed the gap to 57-51 midway through the half, and to four points (74-70 ) with eight minutes remaining in the fourth, but Maree kept them at bay to record their fourth win of the season.
Their next game is on Saturday week, December 29, when they travel to Dublin to take on a DCU Saints side one place above them in the league table.
Maree : Sean Sellers (15 ), Eoin Rockall (17 ), Paul Freeman (12 ), John Burke (2 ), Niels Bunschoten (21 ), Stephen Commins (9 ), Kenneth Hansberry (9 ), Charlie Crowley (6 ), Luke McInerney, Toms Fabricuss, Ciaran Blaney, Ciaran Harte.
The club’s senior women travelled to Kerry for a meeting with St Mary’s Castleisland facing the real prospect of losing their unbeaten start to the season. And with only five fully fit players for the game, they were forced to dig deep to record a 78-69 win.
They looked in real danger when trailing 18-5 near the end of the first-quarter, and when the home side extended its lead to 15 midway through the second-quarter (32-17 ), serious questions were asked of Maree.
However, Joe Shield’s side showed great character to outscore their hosts 19-10 in the remainder of the quarter to trail 42-36 at half-time. Maggie Byrne and Catherine Connaire both hit big three-pointers early in the third quarter to edge Maree ahead, 46-44, and with Claire Rockall, Carol McCarthy and Alison Blaney also finding their range, Maree turned the game around to lead 62-57 at the end of the third quarter.
McCarthy and Rockall both landed three-pointers early in the fourth quarter to kill off the challenge of Castleisland, with Maree seeing out the game for a nine-point win that keeps them on top of the division one south conference heading into the Christmas break.
They are back in action on Saturday January 5 when they welcome UL Huskies to Calasanctius College at 5pm, part of a double header with the club’s men’s side, who will face Moycullen at the same venue at 8pm.
Maree: Carol McCarthy (15 ), Claire Rockall (31 ), Maggie Byrne (5 ), Catherine Connaire (21 ), Alison Blaney (6 ), Dayna Finn, Nicola O’Connell, Laoise Walsh.