A poor start meant that Loftus Recycling were always playing “catch-up” in this National Basketball League division one game in St Mary’s Hall, Portlaoise, on Saturday night. The visitors were without the services of the injured Liam McHale and, with Paul Barrett still recovering from surgery and Ronal McGarrity still unavailable, this was never going to be an easy match for the Ballina men. Subway Portlaoise took full advantage and built up an early lead with their new player Skuzinskas getting most of the baskets. Nothing seemed to go right for the visitors who found it very hard to find scores against a physically stronger Portlaoise team. The home team had built up 13 point advantage at half-time 37-24 with Peter Papic getting most of the Ballina scores.
Loftus Recycling came into the game much more in the third quarter and good baskets by Papic, Dara McGarrity, and Willie Poplewell helped them to outscore Portlaoise in this period. Ballina reduced the deficit to 10 at the three-quarter stage and looked as if they might pull off another great away victory. However it was not to be and, despite cutting the Portlaoise lead to five in the final quarter, Ballina never managed to get any closer to the home team who held out for a deserved victory on the night. This weekend Loftus Recycling travel to Dublin on Sunday to take on Ballon (from Carlow ) in Palmerstown Sports Centre at 3.30pm.