InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2023/2024 – Round 15
EJ Sligo AllStars 102
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 101
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors were edged out by a single point by EJ Sligo AllStars in an overtime thriller that ended in bizarre fashion at the Mercy College in Sligo on Saturday night. An and-one effort from Rap Buivydas looked like giving the Warriors the win with just one second left on the clock in overtime. However the officials somehow found reason to add another one second allowing Sligo to get the ball back in play. Christian Williams had time to receive the ball, get fouled and shoot two clutch free throws to seal the unlikely win. All three teams at the top of the South Conference were all on the receiving end of defeats so the run to the playoffs is as you were heading into next weekend’s fixtures.
In an entertaining opening quarter the sides went score for score after Eoin Quigley had fired in the first basket of the night and Shon Briggs replied in kind. A Giorgi Tvalabashvili dunk gave the hosts a 10-6 lead but Daniel Jokubaitis cut the gap with a signature three before Christian Williams struck back with a double from distance to push Sligo ahead by 5. However the Warriors squared the game when Quigley arced in a major score and Jarvis Doles added his name to the scoresheet to level at 20-20 at quarter time.
The second quarter sparked into life with an early exchange of threes from Quigley and Oisin O’Reilly but a minute later O’Reilly struck again and a basket from Williams saw the hosts lead 28-24. The Warriors response was immediate and decisive as they launched a stunning 15 point volley to quickly build a double digit lead. Doles, Buivydas, Kieran Donaghy and Caleb Jordan were all in range as the visitors pushed ahead. Sligo hit back with two threes from O’Reilly and another from Briggs to cut the lead to 46-41 but Quigley’s third three and two from two from the line from Doles gave the Warriors a 52-44 lead at half time.
The third quarter belonged to Sligo as they embarked on a devastating offensive run to turn the game around. The hosts scored at will through Williams, Briggs, Tvalabashvili and when O’Reilly fired down his fourth three of the night seven minutes into the quarter the Warriors had yet to add to their halftime tally and trailed by 64-52. Rap Buivydas fired the visitors right back into the contest with scores from inside, outside and the line before another Jokubaitis major left just 4 between the sides with 1’00’’ on the clock. However Sligo would have the final say in the quarter with O’Reilly knocking down his fifth three and a score apiece from Briggs and Tvalabashvili had Sligo leading 74-64 at the end of the third.
The Warriors hit an unanswered 10 points early in the fourth with Quigley, Cian Sullivan, Jordan, Donaghy and Doles combining to level the game again at 74-74 and despite another Doles effort from distance, Tom Child, Williams and Briggs were all in range to edge the hosts 84-79 ahead. Jokubaitis added a quick fire five points to draw level again and threes from Child for Sligo and Buivydas for the Warriors kept the sides deadlocked with less than a minute to play. Shon Briggs looked like he would be the game winner for Sligo when he fired in from inside and one from two from the line to put the hosts 90-87 up. However in the final second of the game Daniel Jokubaitis unleashed a stunning three point effort to push the contest into over-time.
The sides went toe to toe in the additional five minutes after Williams broke the deadlock and an exchange of threes from the sharpshooting Jokubaitis and O’Reilly continued the stalemate inside the final minute. Williams shot the hosts ahead from the line before Doles converted a technical foul free throw to cut the Sligo advantage to a single score. Rap Buivydas stepped up to fire the Warriors into what appeared to be a winning lead with another and-one score with one second on the clock. However the officials decided there would be an additional second to play and that was enough time for Williams to receive the ball and take the foul before converting both free throws to give Sligo a 102-101 win in the most dramatic of circumstances.
EJ Sligo AllStars: Chrishon Briggs 31, Christian Williams 29, Oisin O’Reilly 21
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Rap Buivydas 23, Daniel Jokubaitis 19, Jarvis Doles 19,
Next up for the Warriors is a trip to the MTU Arena in Bishopstown to take on Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig next weekend in a repeat of the Pat Duffy National Cup semi-final. The Cork side edged that encounter but this time the stakes are equally high with three priceless League points on offer with both teams looking for home advantage in the League playoffs. Tip off at the MTU Arena in Cork next Saturday is 4.00pm.
Thanks as always to Liam Ryan for the Images