Maree Basketball Club’s senior women’s side completed the perfect season on Saturday, winning their final league of the campaign to finish with 13 wins from 13.
They hosted Phoenix Rockets from Belfast in Calasanctius College, and despite a slow start, they showed their class to run out 73-56 winners on the day when they were presented with both the Southern Conference Shield and Division 1 Cup.
They achieved the 100 per cent record with an all-local side, with their 13 players coming from Galway (8 ), Mayo (3 ), Roscommon (1 ), and Leitrim (1 ) - all other sides, with the exception of Swords Thunder, had at least one American player, making Maree’s clean-sweep all the more exceptional.
Some wayward shooting in the opening quarter saw them trail 14-11 at the end of the first 10 minutes of action, and while they continued to struggle with their accuracy in the second quarter, they were getting plenty of scoring looks, and managed to convert enough of those chances to lead 31-25 at half-time.
They found their groove in the third quarter, outscoring their visitors 30-19 to stretch into a 61-46 lead, and they completed the job in a low-scoring final quarter to run out 17-point winners.
Maree: Carol McCarthy (5 ), Claire Rockall (18 ), Catherine Connaire (9 ), Alison Blaney (10 ), Fiona Scally (17 ), Maggie Byrne (8 ), Nicola O’Connell (2 ), Laoise Walsh (2 ), Sacra Mannion (2 ).
There was mixed news for the club’s men’s Superleague side when they faced two games in as many days against different Cork opposition. They won on Saturday 85-66 against Neptune, but defeat in Sunday's has left them with a mountain to climb to make the top six play-offs.
On Saturday night as part of a double-header with the women’s side, Maree led 29-22 at end of first quarter with Niels Bunschoten doing most damage with 14 points, but a big second quarter from the visitors saw them outscore Maree 26-11 to lead 48-40 at half-time.
However, the third quarter belonged to the home side, which they took 20-7 for a 60-55 lead, and they completed the job in the fourth quarter, hitting 25 points to secure the win.
However, two games in less than 24 hours proved a bridge too far for Mike Lynch’s side as they lost 90-81 to UCC Demons on Sunday afternoon in a rearranged game.
Maree hit 15 three-pointers in the game, but the effort from the previous day took its toll as they trailed 30-21 at the end of the first quarter, and found themselves 54-41 down at half-time.
They tried to rally in the third quarter, but Demons managed to extend their lead to 70-53, and while the home side outscored their visitors 28-20 in the final quarter, thanks to five successive three-pointers, the gap was too big to close as Demons held on for the win.
The men are on the road this weekend when they travel to Kerry to take on Tralee Warriors on Saturday (7.30pm ).
Maree v Neptune : Charlie Crowley (3 ), Sean Sellers (15 ), Eoin Rockall (12 ), Niels Bunschoten (32 ), Paul Freeman (11 ), Ciaran Harte, Ciaran Blaney, Stephen Commins, Luke McInerney, John Burke (6 ), Toms Fabricuss, Kenneth Hansberry (6 ).
Maree v Demons : Charlie Crowley, Sean Sellers (15 ), Eoin Rockall (16 ), Paul Freeman (10 ), Niels Bunschoten (24 ), John Burke (2 ), Ciaran Harte, Kenneth Hansberry (14 ), Ciaran Blaney.