THE NUI GALWAY KINGFISHER played host to the biggest fixture in Galway Basketball this past Saturday, as Moycullen got their 2018/19 Superleague season off to a winning start against hometown rivals Maree BC. From the minute the fixtures were announced all basketball fans in Galway had this game penciled in as a must see and it didn’t disappoint.
The exits of some of Moycullen’s more senior players have opened up slots, and longer playing time, to some of Moycullen’s underage stars, and if this past weekend was anything to go by, Moycullen will have little to worry about going forward.
It was Moycullen’s newest acquisition, American player Isaiah Harris-Winn, who had the hot had in the first quarter, and he poured in 7 points before Maree had time to get started.
On defense, the home side also looked impressive, with Cian Nihill and Joseph Tummon putting Maree’s big-men on lockdown.
Eventually though, the game did settle, and Maree began to find scores.
Late on, Nihill and rising star Paul Kelly found found the basket for Moycullen, and they finished the period ahead by 20 points to 14.
A good start to the game for Moycullen.
Maree’s offense all but evaporated in the second quarter- the visitors registered only 7 points in the period.
Moycullen however, had no such problems. Harris-Winn continued to be a matchup nightmare for Maree, and behind his smooth ballhandling and sharpshooting, Moycullen amassed a 20-point lead by halftime.
At half time the crowd were treated to a 4on4 game from our U9 Boys with help from our U9 Girls who put on a great display for the big crowd.
As always this will be a feature of each of our home SuperLeague games, we will have a different underage team playing at half-tome. Hopefully some of our youngest players will be back to not only play at half-time again but also to represent the club at SuperLeague level.
Back to SuperLeague action and Maree’s scoring woes continued into the third.
Moycullen, though undersized, battled hard every on Maree possession, and their work-rate was reflected by the scoreline, which showed the home team up by 20 or so for the most of the period.
In the final minute of the third, Maree guard Stephen Commins nabbed a quick 5 points for Maree, and stole back some of Moycullen’s momentum going into the fourth.
The final period was Maree’s best; and Moyculllen’s worst. The home side’s offense faltered, and Maree capitalised at every opportunity, keeping Moycullen virtually scoreless, and cutting the Moycullen lead to 9 with 7 minutes to play.
A much needed layup from Kyle Cunningham ended the Moycullen drought, before Maree answered back with a three-pointer. With just under three minutes on the clock, Moycullen led by three.
Luckily for the home side, that was as close as the visitors got, a lot of that was down to much better and focused defence from the home team. Harris-Winn ran in two crucial fastbreak layups, before a Paddy Lyons steal sealed the victory for Moycullen.
“I’m really, really happy with our defense tonight. We have a young team, they have to learn it’s a man’s game now – a lot of them have just stepped up from underage and they got a good lesson there on what Super League basketball is all about,” said Moycullen Head Coach John Cunningham.
“I’m delighted to get the win, that’s all that matters first game of the season,” he added.
Moycullen’s next game sees them travel to Kerry for a match against Superleague debutants Killorglan.
The next home game is Saturday 13th October when we host UCC Demons, who had a big win at the weekend in the Cork Derby. Tip-off is 7:30pm.
Season Tickets are still available for all of our home games in the SuperLeague.
Moycullen: Isaiah Harris-Winn (24), Cian Nihill (12), Dylan Cunningham (7), Joseph Tummon (6), Paul Kelly (6), Paddy Lyons (5), Kyle Cunningham (3), James Lyons (3), Connor Curran, Dara Kenna
Coach: John Cunningham Asst. Coach: Gerald Lyons