Galway’s two basketball clubs continue title hunt

Moycullen continued their march for more basketball honours with another comfortable 98-75 victory over Longford Falcons at the weekend.

With one league game remaining, the likely scenario for the playioffs is becoming clearer. If Moycullen win their next match against Ballina, they will top the conference and the Titans-Castleisland game on March 7 will decide second and third. If they do not win, it is still possible to top the conference if fellow Galway side Titans claim a victory over Castleisland.

If they do top the conference, their opponents are not yet clear but A Taste of Europe and Killarney are the likely candidates, while Castleisland and Titans could meet in the other Southern Conference match up. Winning the conference would guarantee a home quarter and semi-final.

Since the cup final, Moycullen have been playing with great confidence, and Saturday’s fixture against Longford was the same. In a free flowing game Moycullen survived an even first quarter to pull away to a comprehensive 98-75 victory.

Falcon’s zone was nadequate against the combination of Cian Nihill’s shooting and Mindaugus Kurcenkovas powerful drives to the basket but, at the other end, the normally sound Moycullen defence struggled to contain Campbell and McMillan. The quarter ended with the visitors in a 1 point 19-18 lead.

Moycullen tightened up defensively, while, at the other end, the scores continued to flow. Garnett Griffin opened up on the inside, while Kurcenkovas continued his impressive start. and at half time, the game was over as Moycullen led on a 40-27 scoreline.

The third quarter was a further demonstration of Moycullen’s dominance. They produced their most fluid offensive performance of the season, connecting on a massive 40 points. Garnett Griffin knocked down most of his massive haul of 21 points for the quarter, while Eoghan Maxwell and Mindaugus shared the rest.

In the second match of the weekend Moycullen eased to a 66 - 33 win over St Brendan’s Tralee.

Titans also grabbed a deserved 87-82 victory over Lisburn in Belfast.

Despite missing two top players, Titans turned in their best performance of the season, leading Lisburn all the way and comfortably withstanding a desperate late charge from their opponents.

The timing could not be better with the finals approaching as Titans defensive effort restricted the free-scoring Lisburn side into its lowest scoring return of the season. The young Darren Callanan set the tone with an excellent performance at both ends. Dave O’Keefe had his best performance of the year with decisive power moves to the basket, and coupled with superb penetration from Paulius Peldzius Titans led at half time 36-42.

Titans stretched their lead midway through the third quarter to 15 as Peldzuis and O’Keefe continued to score freely, while all the Titans chipped in with valuable contributions.

Titans never released their control on the match as Lisburn became more desperate in the fourth quarter, and despite a string of three-pointers from Lisburn, Titans always had the match in hand and deservedly won. Titans next match is on March 7 at the NUIG ( 4pm ) when they take on Castleisland for a home quarter-final spot.

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