Local basketball rivals, SSE Airtricity Moycullen and Maree, face off in a season-defining game for both sides in the NUIG Kingfisher on Saturday (7pm ).
If Moycullen win, they will wrap up the men’s division one title with a game to spare; if Maree win by seven points or more and extend their unbeaten run, they will ensure the league will be decided by a one-game playoff in the post season.
Both sides have shown incredible form this season. Moycullen are unbeaten in the league in the last four months, while their opponents are the only ones to boast a 100 per cent record in their road games.
Moycullen have the best defence in the league, while Maree are the top scorers and have upped a gear since the turn of the year.
“It’s just a case of more players stepping up,” says Maree forward Kenneth Hansberry. “We’re all looking to get on the score board instead of relying on others to get points.”
The sides last met in Calasanctius College in Oranmore where Moycullen came through by seven points. It was a case of lessons learned for Maree.
“They’ve come down from the premier league and they’re just more efficient in what they do. It has made us think about how we could improve our own processes in games and in training, and in our approach to get level,” says Hansberry.
“We knew after losing to them at home that going to NUIG would be tough. It’s the big games of the year that really count. Moycullen are one of the best supported in the league and we’ve a good following too. We’d pretty much be expecting a big crowd for the game.”
Moycullen’s fate is in their own hands. The title is theirs if they win or lose by six points or less as they would pick up a losing bonus point.
Last weekend they enjoyed a 60-50 win over C&S Blue Demons in Cork with James Loughnane 12, Dylan Cunningham 10, and Paul Freeman 9 the highest scorers.
Across town, JM&L Auctioneers picked up their third losing bonus point of the season against Blue Demons and are one of four teams in the hunt for third place. If they can pull it off, it would mean the top three positions in the men’s division one would be filled by teams from Galway. Jordi Juste’s side are on a bye-week this week after losing out by just three points to Team Left Bank Kilkenny by 76 - 73 after the sides were level at the break. Top scorers for Titans were Darryl Durham 19, Toms Fabriciuss 14, Tomas Mitkus 14, and Gintaris Sedebskis 10.
NUIG Mystics finished their regulation season with a 65 - 57 loss to Team Denjoes American Style, and they now wait to see if they will be nudged out of second place when the league wraps up this weekend. Mystics’ top scorers were Ailish O’Reilly 14, Nicole Krusen 12, and Marine Airnault 10.