InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2022/2023 – Round 4
Energywise Ireland Neptune 100
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 91
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors suffered another tough loss on the road when eventually succumbing to Energywise Ireland Neptune in an entertaining encounter at Neptune Stadium on Saturday night. An early final quarter run from the home side that yielded an unanswered 12 points proved decisive as the Warriors, who battled right to the final buzzer, simply could not find the scores to reel the hosts in late on. The result keeps Neptune’s unbeaten record intact while the Warriors have much to ponder ahead of the visit of UCC Demons to Tralee next weekend in what looks like a game the Warriors have to win.
Neptune started like a team intent on settling some old scores from last season with Cian Heaphy, Jordan Blount and a couple of threes from former Warrior Jordan Evans laying down an early marker but Daniel Jokubaitis and Dre Jackson combined to keep the Warriors well in touch. Blount and Heaphy kept the Warriors defence under pressure and when Evans hit his third three of the quarter, Keonn Scott quickly followed his lead with two major scores of his own. Matija Jokic cut the Neptune advantage with an effort from beyond the arc to leave the Warriors 25-17 down at the end of the first.
Neptune pushed their lead out to double digits early in the second with Jordan Blount and Cian Heaphy in range but Jokubaitis lit up to respond with scores from inside, outside and the free throw line and when Jackson weaved a path to the basket the gap was down to a more manageable 32-27. Evans hit his fourth three of the night either side of stunning efforts from Jokubaitis and Jackson and when Quigley tapped in and Jackson again got an open look from distance the Neptune lead was down to a single point with 3 minutes left in the half. Neptune’s Nil Sabata added his name to the scoresheet for the first time and then proceeded to add another two typical efforts from inside before a Xavier Arriaga three but 8 between the sides. Another three from Jokuabitis and a step to the board from Jackson kept the Warriors well in touch at the half time break with Neptune leading 50-46.
The Warriors produced their best spell of the game in the third and an early run of scores from Jokic, Jackson and the outstanding Jokubaitis fired the visitors ahead for the first time in the game. It got better for the defending League champions when Fergal O’Sullivan and Jokic hit back to back threes but Blount and Heaphy stemmed the flow for Neptune and Kelvin O’Donoghue arced in from outside to put the hosts back in front. Jokic was again in range inside and when Jokubaitis punished a foul beyond the arc with three from three from the line the sides were level. Sabata had the last word and banked in a score to edge his side ahead by 69-67 at the side headed down the stretch.
The Warriors were level again in the opening moments of the final quarter when Jokic got to the board with a powerful drive but Neptune hit back with a simply devastating volley of scores to completely change the dynamic of the game. The impressive Blount hit a hat trick of scores, Heaphy chimed in with a three and a lay-up from Sabata suddenly had Neptune 81-69 ahead. The Warriors battled bravely against the odds with back to back scores from Jackson and a breath-taking Jokubaitis three that proved to be his final score of the evening before being fouled out a minute later. However Blount, Sabata and Evans kept the Warriors in check late on despite O’Sullivan and Jokic firing in from distance. In a chaotic finale Jackson and Jokic kept the hosts honest but scores from Arriaga and Evans left the final scoreline reading 100-91 at the final buzzer.
Top scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Dre Jackson 31, Daniel Jokubaitis 28, Matija Jokic 22
Energywise Ireland Neptune: Jordan Blount 27, Jordan Evans 23, Nil Sabata 18
It is back to the Tralee Sports Complex next weekend for the Warriors as they prepare for the visit of UCC Demons with a rare Friday night fixture. Tip off next Friday evening at home of the Warriors is 7.30pm.
POST MATCH AUDIO
Warriors Head Coach John Dowling says he was disappointed with the loss but pleased with the way the Warriors performed with some key players missing…
He says there is a lot of work to do with big challenges ahead including a tough Cup draw away to Éanna…
Neptune Coach Colin O’Reilly says that both teams have work to do before the business end of the season but he is happy to take the win…
He says that he looks for certain players to step up at certain times and was not singling out any particular player for praise…