Moycullen men’s Superleague basketballers begin an intensive month of training in a bid to turn their season around.
In the next four weeks this season’s new entrants to the top echelons of Irish basketball have only one scheduled fixture against Belfast Star on January 23 and coach Enda Byrt will use that time to increase the team’s competitiveness for the games ahead.
Byrt was “extremely disappointed” with Moycullen’s 101-79 loss to league leaders Killester on Saturday evening. Despite the margin of defeat, he believed it was a game that could have been won with better recognition at the defensive end. The team’s inability at crucial stages to recognise the scoring threats on the Killester team proved costly, and Byrt wants to ensure Moycullen, who have delivered solid performances and recorded three wins so far, maximise their abilities to become more competitive.
Killester, who had surprisingly lost two games on the trot, were at full strength for the first time in a number of games, and their greater experience and scoring power finally won out as they dominated the fourth quarter.
Fundamental errors by Moycullen in the opening quarter allowed Killester establish a six-point lead, and although Nate Fritsch kept Moycullen in touch with some superb outside shooting, lapses in defence allowed the Dubliners to stretch the margin to 29-16.
Moycullen adjusted their defence and settled down offensively with Eoghan Maxwell, John Cunningham and Garnett Griffin all scoring close to the hoop. However Moycullen were unable to contain the Killester attack as six players shared their 20 point total for the quarter. It took two late Mike Dowd scores and a putback from Puff Summers to keep the margin to 13 at the half.
Moycullen then produced a strong third quarter, scoring the first eight points through John Cunningham, Fritsch and Cian Nihill, reducing the gap to five points. In a thrilling quarter, the teams went score for score for a period with James Loughnane, Garnett Griffin and Nihill to the fore for the visitors. A superb driving score from Nihill cut the deficit to two, 65-63 as Moycullen looked to take control. However a combination of Killester’s experience and Moycullen’s poor defensive recognition put paid to any hopes of a shock. Once again Michael Goj and Peder Madsen (2 ) nailed three-pointers to close out the quarter, restoring Killester to a comfortable 74-63 lead, and ending the game as a contest.
Killester then clinically closed out the game, knocking down shot after shot on the way to a 101-79 victory - the margin, while an unfair reflection of the contest, displayed the difference between a team at the top and one battling on the lower rungs.
Moycullen: Nate Fritsch (21 ), Cian Nihill (15 ), John Cunningham 10 ), James Loughnane (10 ), Dylan Cunningham (8 ), Garnett Griffin (7 ), Michael Dowd (4 ), Puff Summers (2 ), Eoghan Maxwell (2 ), Nollaig Cunningham. Coach: Enda Byrt.
Killester: Jermaine Turner (29 ), Peder Madsen (26 ), Michael Goj(14 ), Alan Casey (8 ), Michael Westbrooks (6 ), Keith Anderson (6 ), Paddy Kelly (4 ), Michael Hennebry (4 ), Damien Sealy (2 ), Robbie Clarke (2 ), John Lambert Coach: Mark Keenan.