Maree took the honours in only their second game of the National League when they overcame local rivals Titans in a packed Calasanctius gym at the weekend.
Ten points down at half time, Maree went on to take the second half 45–26 and their first win since they entered the league. Maree’s Linas Mitkus hit a game-high 22 points, while David Hansberry hit 17, and Danny Finn - back from Edinburgh for the game – slotted 16.
Titans started the sharper with Freeman and O’Keeffe getting good inside baskets, and Maree struggled under their own boards. Eight points from Mitkus steadied the home side after captain Darren Callanan led with a couple of aggressive drives and lay-ups. However Peldzius hit Titans’ last seven points of the quarter for a 32-16 lead.
Although threes from Con Crowley, David Hansberry, and Danny Finn kept Maree in touch, Titans were still taking advantage from turnovers and their transition game. As a result Maree slipped 10 behind by the half and had work to do in the third.
Fouls and free throws were dominant features of a tough, gritty and tight third period. Eight of Titans’ tally of just 14 points came from the line. Liam Conroy and Danny Finn were quickly on four fouls. Gradually with a tightened defence and an improving fast break and more controlled half-court game, Maree began to claw their way back.
David Hansberry scored his side’s first eight points, while Finn, Crowley and Conroy mastered the front of the defence. Following a Conroy three, Zuirblinskas hit two crucial baskets to end the period with the Titans’ lead reduced to 60-56.
Both sides were in foul trouble going into the last, but Maree’s Darren Callanan, David Hansberry, Danny Finn, Linas Mitkus and Colm O’Hagan knuckled down to draw level with Titans at 71 apiece with just three minutes remaining.
Titans lost Carroll, Freeman, and Peldzius when they were fouled out and Maree began to take over. Hansberry and Finn, both on four, hung on as Maree finished the stronger, winning 81-72.
Maree: Con Crowley (6 ), Colm O’Hagan (2 ), Danny Finn (16 ), Eddie Forde, Darren Callanan (C, 7 ), George Rahmani, Ciaran Harte , Liam Conroy (5 ), Conor Graham, Andrew Brennan, David Hansberry (17 ), Sarunas Zuirblinskas (6 ), Kenneth Hansberry , Linas Mitkus (22 ).
Titans: David O’Keefe (14 ), Alex Portelli (7 ), Drew Wilkinson, Paulius Peldzius (15 ), Jack Considine, Danas Pusinskas (2 ), Rimvydas Visockas (7 ), Paul Freeman (28 ), Sean Carroll (5 ), Paul Conroy (2 ), Pat O’Neill, Colin Turke.