Maree too strong for Tralee

Maree men’s basketballers recorded an impressive 85 - 42 win over St Brendan’s Tralee on Saturday to notch their fourth victory in their first National League basketball campaign.

Maree, despite missing their top-scoring gun Linas Mitkus, took a 21-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The lead had widened to 41-15 at the half, ending the game as a contest. Sarunas Zvirblinskas had a big game, with top score of 20 points.

The key to Maree’s success was their aggressive man-to-man defence, while Maree’s fast break kicked in early in the first quarter, with Liam Conroy and Danny Finn getting the ball up the floor with urgency. This trend continued with productive shifts from Con Crowley, George Rahmani, Colm O’Hagan, Eddie Forde and Ciarán Harte. At the back, Zvirblinskas rebounded well, along with captain Darren Callanan, and brothers David and Ken Hansberry. Overall, Maree’s defensive performance was their best of the season to date.

St Brendan’s were never allowed to settle, although Andrew Fitzgerald, who hit 17 for the visitors, was a constant threat. When the Kerrymen switched to zone defence, Maree moved the ball well and took good shot options in and outside the paint. As the game went into the third and last quarters most of the play was transition, with wave after wave of Maree breaks off Brendan’s turnovers. The visitors hit a meagre four points in the third quarter – two of which were Fitgerald free throws – to Maree’s 24. The home team had a good spread of scoring, with seven Maree players hitting five or more points.

Maree: Linas Mitkus (dnp ), Con Crowley (4 ), Colm O’Hagan (4 ), Danny Finn (15 ), Eddie Forde (5 ), Darren Callanan (C, 6 ), George Rahmani (2 ), Ciarán Harte, Liam Conroy (12 ), David Hansberry (6 ), Sarunas Zvirblinskas (20 ), Ken Hansberry (11 ).

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