SSE Airtricity Moycullen matched up against Griffith Swords Thunder on Saturday evening in Dublin for their second away game in a row. Although Moycullen were defeated, it was a tight match till the games closing moments and it showed many similarities to last January’s cup semi-finals match against the same team.
Both teams got off to a great start to begin the first quarter, as the up tempo style of basketball saw both sides utilising the fast break to achieve scores. Moycullen were able to restrict Thunder’s second chance looks early thanks to the rebounding of Paul Freeman and Philip Lawrence-Ricks. Although Thunder’s big men proved very efficient in the post, the outside shooting of Patrick Lyons and Philip Lawrence-Ricks helped Moycullen stay in the game. The score was neck and neck to finish the quarter, 17-16 to Swords Thunder.
Swords Thunder began to break away in the second quarter as their guards were able to penetrate the defence and pick up fouls. Moycullen’s offence became quite stagnant, which lead to a number of turnovers and easy baskets for their opponents. Despite this, Philip Lawrence-Ricks displayed his offensive repertoire, scoring from the perimeter and attacking the basket for scores. Moycullen showed heart on the defensive end, but Thunder’s quick offense allowed them to gain the lead to end the half, 41-37.
Moycullen held onto their good offensive form in the second half, as guards Dylan Cunningham and James Loughnane were able to get the ball to their teammates in the right spots for scores, finishing the game with 10 assists between them. James Loughnane also displayed his shooting touch, helping Moycullen stay in the game with his four three pointers. However, Thunder soon gained the rebounding advantage and were able to get numerous looks at the basket, putting much pressure on Moycullen’s defence. Although the game was still tight, Thunder held the momentum going into the fourth quarter, leading 63-57.
Moycullen’s big men Paul Freeman and Philip Lawrence-Ricks continued to score down low in the fourth quarter. However, Thunder’s offence came alive and a quick scoring run saw Moycullen trail to the home team considerably. Thunder’s fast style of play and their ability to get to the free throw line allowed them to pull away. Moycullen showed hustle, but Thunder’s late game surge ultimately denied them the win away from home, 83-74.
A good performance from the team but Thunder’s ability to get the scores when really needed was the key difference in the game. While disappointed SSE Airtricity can be happy with most aspects of the game & will hope that they can continue to build on this display. It doesn’t get any easier as they face league leaders Templeogue in what should be a cracker of a game this Saturday 4th March at 7pm in the Kingfisher.
Philip Lawrence-Ricks (25), James Loughnane (16), Paul Freeman (15), Joseph Tummon (9), Patrick Lyons (7), Dylan Cunningham (4), Rory Gilson, Sean Candon, John Hackett, Oisin Carey.