InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2022/2023 – Round 19
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 73
Energywise Ireland Neptune 77
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors bowed out of the InsureMyVan.ie Mens Super League on Saturday night after their titanic battle with arch-rivals Energywise Ireland Neptune ended in defeat as the Cork outfit secured the final playoff place in the South Conference with a 77-73 win in front of a capacity crowd in Tralee. A stunning three point score from Neptune’s Jordan Blount with 19 seconds on the clock proved to be the decisive score just as the game looked likely to go to overtime. It was an incredible night at the Tralee Sports Complex and a game that will live long in the memory for those lucky enough to have witnessed it.
Matija Jokic opened the scoring and added another after a three point play from Dre Jackson but when Tarkus Ferguson, Jordan Blount and Roy Downey combined the sides were level for the first of seventeen times in the game. Neptune took the lead with a double from Cian Heaphy and scores from either side of the arc from Blount and despite Daniel Jokubaitis doing likewise the visitors eased their way to a 19-12 lead. However the Warriors finished the quarter in some style with Kieran Donaghy knocking down a three and Rich Dunham converting three from three from the line and when Steven Bowler opened his account on the buzzer, Neptune’s advantage was cut to 21-20 at quarter time.
The game settled into a pattern of score for score in the second with an early double from Jokubaitis either side of a Dunham drive were countered by efforts from Heaphy and Ferguson to see the teams level again. Jackson hit a quick fire five points but Neptune hit back with through Heaphy and a three from point guard Downey before Jokubaitis landed a cracking three to edge the Warriors ahead. Ferguson replied in kind either side of two tough baskets from Blount and despite Eoin Quigley chipping in with a late score for the hosts, Neptune took a 38-37 lead to the dressing room at the half time break.
The capacity crowd really warmed to the action in the third as the sides again continued to stand toe to toe and go score for score with an early Blount double countered by two major scores from Jokubaitis. A hattrick of scores from Jackson was immediately negated by a double from Downey and one handed effort from Nil Sabata. A corner three from Xavier Arriaga levelled the game yet again and when Jackson and Jokic traded inside scores with Ferguson and Heaphy, the sides could not be separated at 55-55 at three quarter time.
The atmosphere built to fever pitch in the final quarter as the Complex was rocked and rolled with both teams continuing the intriguing battle for the final playoff place. It was Neptune that moved ahead with efforts from Ferguson, Arriaga and Blount putting five between the sides. But the Warriors struck back with a belter of three from Quigley and two from two from the line from Donaghy had the game level again at 62-62 at the midway point. Blount continued to cause problems for the Warriors rear-guard and a double from him and another three from Arriaga edged the Leesiders ahead but Jackson struck back with two cracking efforts from beyond the arc to see the teams level for the seventeenth time at 71-71 inside the final minute. The game was there to be won and with the clock ticking down to 19 seconds Ferguson found Blount in space in midcourt and the Irish international arced in a showstopping three from six feet beyond the arc. It was a score good enough to win any game and despite Jackson replying with his third three in a row, in a frantic finale the Warriors fouled to allow Downey hit two free throws to seal the 77-73 win for Neptune. The Cork side who this year celebrate their 75th year now take their place in the quarter final of Super League where they will take on Belfast Star next weekend. It was an unbelievable game, good enough to grace any court and as thrilling and exciting as any game ever played at the Complex.
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors – Dre Jackson 27, Daniel Jokubaitis 18, Matija Jokic 9
Energywise Ireland Neptune – Jordan Blount 30, Tarkus Ferguson 13, Roy Downey 11
POST MATCH AUDIO
Warriors Coach John Dowling says he is very proud of the manner in which his team resurrected their season with the late run of wins…
He says the Complex is still a special place to play and the Warriors set up is in a great position to plan and move ahead next season…
Neptune’s game winner Jordan Blount says he had a few practice shots before the game and was full of praise of the experience of playing in Tralee…