Basketball Ireland Men’s Superlegue
By Steven Heaney
THE WEST of Ireland’s two premier basketball sides went head-to-head in a hotly anticipated local derby this past Saturday. For Moycullen, the game represented a crucial chance to hoist themselves off the bottom of the Superleague; for Maree, it was a chance to get one over on their local rivals, and to continue their recent run of good form. In the end though, it was Maree who pulled off a hard-earned victory in front of a significant hometown contingent.
In the early goings Maree’s defensive intensity seemed to take Moycullen by surprise. Maree’s guards allowed their Moycullen counterparts very little room to operate, and forced the Connemara men to rely on their outside shooting for scores. In that regard, they did have some success early on, with Joseph Tummon connecting on a trio of three-pointers, and Paddy Lyons hitting a pair towards the end of the period.
The game was played at an incredibly high-pace all game long, with each side looking to push the ball at every opportunity. In the second quarter, as their offense began to falter, it was Moycullen’s younger players who provided the leadership.
Youngsters Paul Kelly and Josh Marvesely gave Moycullen a much needed lift off the bench: Kelly helping out offensively; and Marvesely doing his utmost to guard Maree’s American player, Sean Sellers. Indeed, Maree relied heavily on the play of Sellers, and their inside-man Neils Bunschoten for their scoring. At halftime, Moycullen were in front, but only just, 49- 46.
In the third, Bunschoten’s size really began to frustrate Moycullen. He seemed to be able to score at will offensively, and on the rare occasion he failed to hit the target, his offensive rebounds gave Maree some valuable second-chance scoring chances. Moycullen continued to fight however, with Paul Kelly, Dylan Cunningham and Isaiah Harris-Winn each getting on the board. Behind their play, Moycullen held on to the lead when the third quarter buzzer sounded.
In the fourth quarter though, it was all Maree. Sean Sellers all but took over the game, knocking down shot after contested shot. Moycullen simply had no answer. With the wind taken out of their opposition’s sails, Maree eventually took the lead.
Moycullen’s offense evaporated in the final quarter- Maree outscored them by 26-9 in the period. When Kenny Hansberry nailed a three-pointer in the final minute, the result was put beyond doubt.
If Moycullen are to salvage anything from this season, they will need to put together a strong run of home game wins in the coming weeks.
Moycullen: Isaiah Harris-Winn (15), Paddy Lyons (14), Paul Kelly (14), Joseph Tummon (12), Dylan Cunningham (11), Kyle Cunningham (5), Cian Nihill (4), Joshua Marvesely (4), Conor Curran, Dara Kenna, James Lyons Coach: John Cunningham