Maree Basketball Club hit the ground running in the first big tournament of the 2009/10 season. On Saturday in Gurranabraher they retained the u-20 Cork Open Cup which they had won for the first time last season, winning all five games.
Without four regulars, including three internationals, it was a young starting five that faced St Brendan’s of Killarney. Despite a somewhat sluggish start, the Galway side came through 38-24, with all 10 players seeing court time. Against perennial rivals Blue Demons, still smarting from their defeat in the 2008 final, Maree played a superb first quarter, featuring rugged defence and a breath-taking fast break, and the game was over well before the half. The final result was a 76-35 Maree win.
Having already secured a semi-final spot, Maree finished their pool with a 67-35 win over Neptune.
The semi-final line-ups were Maree v Ballincollig and Demons v Lakers, with Moycullen narrowly missing out on points difference. Maree won comfortably enough 64-41 to once face Demons in the final. In the first quarter Liam Conroy was on fire outside, David Hansberry drew fouls and hit from the free-throw line, and with the clearly ill Colm O’Hagan rested regularly, Ciaran Harte, in his first u-20 match, stepped into the frame.
However Demons lifted their game, reducing the Maree lead to four at the end of the first quarter. Nevertheless an outrageously long Conroy three on the half-time buzzer caused Demons’ heads to drop a little, and Maree went into the third quarter eight up and in no mood to give back the cup. Con Crowley continued to dazzle on the break, while Ken Hansberry showed great touches to help Maree win comfortably in the end, 61 - 46.
Maree: David Hansberry, Conor Graham, Dáire Greene, Céimin Burke, Liam Conroy, Con Crowley, Colm O’Hagan, Ken Hansberry, Ciaran Harte, Tomas Mitkus.