Maree, after experiencing their first men’s National League loss of the season when they went down 6-56 to Blue Demons at the weekend, return Lee-side this Saturday to play Neptune.
Despite the loss Maree remain top of the MNL Southern Conference with three wins and one loss, and they will be keen to bounce back this weekend.
The Mardyke game saw Maree play with their usual defensive intensity, and holding Blue Demons to 61 points was an excellent effort in an away game. However it was a different story at the other end of the court whre Maree struggled, never really hitting a rhythm.
In the first quarter Conroy and Darren Callanan were each good for four points and Maree shaded the period 13-12, but by half time Demons had taken a slender five-point lead at 29- 24. By then a pattern had emerged - Maree were not scoring in the key – Sarunas Zvirblinskas was limited to just five free-throw points in the game - and they were not hitting three-pointers.
Maree’s first score of the third quarter, a Conroy three, was to be their only three-pointer of the game. Maree's experienced Danny Finn hit two baskets and Colm O’Hagan and Con Crowley, in particular, put the Demons back-court under a lot of pressure. Dave Hansberry hit two inside baskets, while late in the period Conroy drove and scored on three successive offences. But Demons had maintained their advantage, at 49-44.
Maree switched to a zone defence and this seemed to help, but their offensive woes never really subsided. Although trailing by nine in the last period, they fought back through O’Hagan with four and Callanan with five to be just three down and in possession of the basketball, with less than a minute to go. However the home team prevailed in a tense finish.
Maree: Con Crowley (4 ), Colm O’Hagan (5 ), Danny Finn (6 ), Darren Callanan (9 ), Niall Higgins, Liam Conroy (21 ), Ciaran Harte, Dave Hansberry (4 ), Brian Kelly, Sarunas Zvirblinskas (5 ), Ken Hansberry, Tomas Mitkus (2 ).
Maree’s Colm O’Hagan drives and scores