Moycullen are searching for a much-needed victory when they entertain Neptune in the Kingfisher NUIG on Saturday (6pm ).
With just one win from their nine outings to date - despite coming close on numerous occasions - Moycullen will be looking to put in a big effort in this last home mtch before the Christmas.
They are up against Neptune who they pushed close in Cork at the start of the season, but since then the visitors have gone on to record another three victories, while the County Galway outfit has struggled.
Last weekend Moycullen made the 800km round trip to Belfast but came away empty handed, losing by 13 points (82-69 ) to what was a beatable home side.
For the first time this season Moycullen had a definite inside advantage and Mason Ambler had a big game, top scoring on 35 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. However, the continued inability of the team to support the scoring power of Ambler and their sloppiness in protecting the ball (22 turnovers once again ) proved an insurmountable obstacle as Star picked up a comfortable victory.
Coach Enda Byrt is now looking for a big effort against Neptune.
“Mason Ambler had a very efficient game. His 35 points and 17 rebounds would normally be a great foundation for a victory, but on this occassion the local players did not respond and were very much off target in offence as well as gifting Star some very easy scores with a series of concentration lapses. This final home game before Christmas will hopefully see a return to scoring confidence from the local players.”
Missing both Cian Nihill through injury and Garnett Griffin, Moycullen struggled up front despite Ambler’s return to form. He helped establish a 10-4 lead, but Star's impressive American Clayton Longmire made his presence felt and the gap closed quickly. Star edged in front for the first time late in the quarter as Moycullen dried up offensively. The second quarter saw things get much worse for the visitors. A number of poor turnovers in the backcourt gifted scores to Star, while poor passing at the other end limited their scoring opportunities. At one stage Star had established a 16-point lead before Moycullen steadied the ship and managed to reduce the deficit to 12 points at the half -39-27.
In their anxiety to get back in the game, Moycullen rushed things which suited the quicker b but smaller Star team who patiently moved the ball to the open shooters. As a result Star slowly put the game beyond Moycullen's reach. Although Moycullen battled on and a couple of times hinted at a comeback, the gap was too big and, with only Mason Ambler scoring in double figures, they were not equipped to close the gap as Star closed out with a comfortable 82-69 win.
Moycullen: Mason Ambler (35 ), Dylan Cunningham (9 ), Mindaugas Kurchenkovas (8 ), Stephen Tummon (6 ), James Loughnane (3 ), Nollaig Cunningham (2 ), John Cunningham (2 ), James Brophy (2 ), Michael Dowd (2 ), James O'Brien, Eoghan Maxwell, Kevin McDonald. Coach: Enda Byrt.