THE West of Ireland’s two premier men’s basketball sides went head-to-head in a hotly anticipated local derby on Saturday in Oranmore, and it was the home side that claimed bragging rights to plunge their visitors further into relegation worries.
Maree’s US player, Sean Sellers, was in imperious form, finishing the game with 31 points and nine rebounds, and he was ably assisted by the Flying Dutchman, Niels Bunschoten, who hit 19 points in a game in which Moycullen were unable to find an answer to his physicality.
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, it was Maree who pulled of a hard-earned victory in front of a big home crowd thanks to a stunning final quarter performance, which saw them outscore their visitors 26-9 to claim the win.
In the early action, 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, and it was they who led at the break 49-46.
In the third quarter, 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 Kelly, Dylan Cunningham and Isaiah Harris-Winn each getting on the board; but it was all Maree in the fourth quarter, with Sellers all but taking over the game, knocking down shot after contested shot, and when Kenny Hansberry nailed a three-pointer in the final minute, the result was put beyond doubt.
Maree: S Sellers (31), N Bunschoten (19), E Rockall (8), P Freeman (11), J Burke (3), K Hansberry (12), S Commins (2), E Walsh, T Fabricuss, C Crowley, C Blaney, C Harte.
Moycullen: I Harris-Winn (15), P Lyons (14), P Kelly (14), J Tummon (12), D Cunningham (11), K Cunningham (5), C Nihill (4), J Marvesley (4), C Curran, D Kenna, J Lyons.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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