Maree move into play-off contention

Maree continue their progress in the men’s basketball National League following a well-deserved 71 - 46 victory over Portlaoise in the Calasanctius Gym.

Liam Conroy hit a game-high 25 to help the Oranmore side move into second place in the Southern Conference.

In the first quarter Portlaoise found it tough to break down Maree’s man-to-man defence, though they did succeed in drawing fouls, forcing the home side to switch to zone. It was honours even at 13-13 at the end of the first period.

However with gritty play from the athletic Darren Callanan and Con Crowley, Portlaoise began to find it almost impossible to get any kind of shot. Liam Conroy caught fire, hitting four three-pointers and 14 points in a row, and with David Hansberry good for four, Maree took a 37-23 half-time lead.

Sarunas Zvuirblinskas took over in the paint at each end of the floor, bossing the boards in defence and showing strongly for the ball at the other end. Between himself and David Hansberry, they accounted for 11 of Maree’s 15 in the period, leading them to a 52-35 advantage. Zvirblinskas hit seven more in the final quarter, and with Liam Conroy and Colm O’Hagan each grabbing threes, Maree finished comfortable winners.

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