Moycullen pulled off a major upset on Saturday night in the Men's Super League, running out 75-70 winners over Dublin outfit Griffith College, Templeogue, who remain winless on the road this season.
A strong opening period, and an even stronger final period, helped get Moycullen over the line in an exciting game that had over more than a dozen lead-changes.
Irish internationals and U20 Stars Paul Kelly and James Conaire played out of their skins for Moycullen early on, each netting seven points in the first quarter, pushing Moycullen out to a five-point lead.
Templeogue, though missing their inside talisman Jason Kileen, could not be denied for too long, however. Their American player, Darren Townes buoyed the Dubliners offense, allowing them to get back into the proceedings, flipping the scoreboard to take a five-point lead of their own just before halftime.
The sides went score-for-score in the third quarter. Dylan Cunningham and Dan Vila provided some much-needed leadership for Moycullen when Moycullen’s offense did not seem to be clicking, but they could not build momentum to close the gap too much.
The final quarter was a different story, however. Templeogue began to slow the tempo in an attempt to prevent Moycullen gathering the attacking edge, and while this worked for a couple of minutes, Moycullen found the answers, and then some.
Kyle Cunningham had an instant impact off the bench, and Moycullen’s American player, Grant Olsson, came to life at just the right time. He chipped in a massive 15 points for Moycullen in the final quarter.
With less than two minutes to go, an unlikely, but fortuitous own-basket from Templeogue propelled Moycullen back into the lead. Then with less than a minute on the clock, Kyle Cunningham stepped up and nailed a dagger of a three-point shot, putting the Connemara men up by five, prompting the home fans to erupt.
On the next offence, a quick three-pointer from the visitors would make for a nervy final few moments. Forced to foul to stop the clock, Grant Olsson had to go to the free throw line in an attempt to put the result beyond doubt. Olsson coolly netted four points from four attempts, sealing a crucial victory in what was an absolutely thrilling game of basketball.
"We're delighted to get this one tonight, we were due an upset like this," Moycullen coach John Cunningham said after the game.
"We have a run of four away games ahead of us, but we’ve had two games in a row with everyone available and this stability will hopefully stand to us on what is a tough run," he added.
The win lifts Moycullen a game above their local rivals Maree, who they will play in a pre-Christmas local derby on December 14.
Moycullen: Grant Olsson (17 ), James Conaire (11 ), Paul Kelly (13 ), Dylan Cunningham (10 ), Daniel Vila (10 ), Kyle Cunningham (7 ), Conor Curran (5 ), Paddy Lyons (2 ), Josh Marvesely, Joseph Tummon, James Lyons, Dara Kenna. Coach: John Cunningham
Elsewhere, Maree retained second position in the Women's Super League thanks to a hard-earned victory over Fr Mathews in Galway on Sunday afternoon, finishing out 79-73 victors after a tightly-contested battle. It was Claire Rockall, Carly McLendon and Michelle Fahy who provided the lion's share of the 79 point tally for Joe Shield's side. The win sets up a tantalising top-of-the-table clash this coming Saturday with the unbeaten DCU Mercy, who are perched 6 points clear of their pursuers after a commanding 51-80 display against Pyrobel Killester in Clontarf.
Maree men's Super League side lost 67-87 to Garvey’s Tralee Warriors.