Moycullen pipped in extra time

Moycullen 79 Belfast Star 82

Moycullen basketball, still searching for their first Superleague win, face a tough double header this weekend.

On Saturday at 6pm in Kingfisher NUIG, they face unbeaten title favourites Killester, while on Sunday at 3pm in the same venue they face a key contest with conference opponents, Neptune.

The team has improved with each appearance since they made their debut in the Superleague, and coach Enda Byrt will be hoping that that trend, and another week’s training, will push them to a first win on this upcoming Halloween weekend double bill. Another bumper home crowd will certainly help them in their quest.

With fellow conference members Neptune and Hoops still looking for their first win, Moycullen’s seasonal ambitions are not unrealistic.

Moycullen almost claimed their first win in Belfast on Sunday, but an unbeaten Belfast Star side came from behind late in the fourth quarter to outscore Moycullen in overtime.

An excellent team defensive performance and a strong offensive effort from Simon Harris put Moycullen into a 70-67 lead late in the fourth quarter. However Star’s experienced pair of imports, Phillip Perre and Scottie Summersgill dragged their team level and, despite a good start in overtime, an 11-point haul from Perre proved too much.

While Moycullen will regret their inability to convert a reasonable percentage of free throws, they can take great heart from their efforts.

Moycullen began the game confidently, and an opening score from John Cunningham, four points from Simon Harris, and a three from Cian Nihill pushed them into a 9-2 lead. Star eventually found their feet but a lay-up from Eoghan Maxwell and six points for John Cunningham off a series of assists from Harris ensured Moycullen were ahead by 19-12 scoreline.

Philip Perre began to find his feet, causing Moycullen real problems. His 12-point haul cut the gap to a single point before Nihill launched a spectacular shot from inside his own half to give his team a 35-31 half time lead.

The third quarter began with the teams going score for score, but Star still held a 54-50 lead which they stretched at the start of the fourth. Inspired by a series of superb defensive charges taken by Glenn Hynes and James Loughnane, Moycullen began to edge back. And with Perre in foul trouble, they pushed the ball into Simon Harris close to the hoop. He did an excellent job, drawing fouls, hitting some tough scores, and finding an assist for John Cunningham which saw Moycullen hit the front on a 63-62 scoreline. The teams went score for score for a period before Harris stretched Moycullen’s lead to three with 90 seconds left. However a free throw from Summersgill and a tough free-throw line jumper from Perre levelled the game. Moycullen had a late chance through Harris but, under severe pressure he failed to convert and the game went into overtime.

Moycullen hit the first four points of overtime through Harris, but at the other end, Moycullen could not contain Perre.

Moycullen: Simon Harris (33 ), John Cunningham (18 ), Cian Nihill (12 ), Eoghan Maxwell (9 ), Michael Dowd (4 ), Nollaig Cunningham (3 ), Puff Summers, James Loughnane, Glenn Hynes, Paul O’Brien, Dylan Cunningham, James Brophy. Coach: Enda Byrt.

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