Maree came out on top when the west of Ireland’s two premier basketball sides went head-to-head in a hotly anticipated local derby in the Superleague on Saturday.
Moycullen had been hoping for a much-needed a win to hoist themselves off the bottom of the league table, but it was Maree, who got one over on their local rivals and continued their recent run of good form with an 86-79 win.
It was a hard-earned victory in front of a significant hometown contingent, and in the early play Maree’s defensive intensity seemed to take Moycullen by surprise. Played at a high-pace, each side looked to push the ball at every opportunity.
However the Maree guards gave their Moycullen counterparts very little room to operate, and forced the Connemara men to rely on their outside shooting for scores. And while Moycullen enjoyed some success early on, with Joseph Tummon connecting on a trio of three-pointers, and Paddy Lyons hitting a pair towards the end of the period, their offence began to falter, and Moycullen’s younger players stepped up.
Youngsters Paul Kelly and Josh Marvesely gave Moycullen a much needed lift off the bench - Kelly helping out offensively; and Marvesely doing his utmost to guard Maree’s key American player, Sean Sellers.
At half-time, Moycullen were in front, but only just, 49- 46, but in the third, Neils Bunschoten’s size really began to frustrate Moycullen.
He seemed to be able to score at will offensively, and on the rare occasion he failed to hit the target, his offensive rebounds gave Maree some valuable second-chance scoring chances.
Moycullen continued to fight, however, with Paul Kelly, Dylan Cunningham and Isaiah Harris-Winn each getting on the board, and they held onto the lead when the third quarter buzzer sounded.
That, however, changed in the fourth quarter and it was all Maree.
Sean Sellers took control, knocking down shot after a contested shot, and Moycullen simply had no answer.
Moycullen’s offence evaporated in the final quarter as Maree outscored them by 26-9 in the period.
When Kenny Hansberry nailed a three-pointer in the final minute, the result was put beyond doubt.
Maree: S Sellers (31 ), N Bunschoten (19 ), E Rockall (8 ), P Freeman (11 ), J Burke (3 ), K Hansberry (12 ), S Commins (2 ), E Walsh, T Fabricuss, C Crowley, C Blaney, C Harte.
Moycullen: Isaiah Harris-Winn (15 ), Paddy Lyons (14 ), Paul Kelly (14 ), Joseph Tummon (12 ), Dylan Cunningham (11 ), Kyle Cunningham (5 ), Cian Nihill (4 ), Joshua Marvesely (4 ), Conor Curran, Dara Kenna, James Lyons. Coach, John Cunningham