Warriors brought back down to earth by Éanna

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 11

DBS Éanna 85

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 75

Seven days after being crowned National Cup champions, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors were brought back down to earth by a determined DBS Éanna side by 85-75 in Colaiste Éanna on Saturday night. Going into the game without the service of Kieran Donaghy, Darragh O’Hanlon and Brandon Cotton and facing a team that were still smarting from their Cup semi-final defeat, it was always going to be a tough night for the Warriors, and so it proved to be.

Éanna flew out of the traps with the high-flying Devin Gilmore dunking off the very first play following that up with the first three of the night after Romonn Nelson was also on the mark. The Warriors struggled to register a score early on but Cup final MVP Daniel Jokubaitis opened his account to get the visitors on the board. It sparked the Warriors into life with Aaron Calixte hitting two in a row and when Nikola Roso was on the mark the side were level at 9-9. But the home side were determined to make this a difficult night for the Warriors and Gilmore, Alex Dolenko and Stefan Zecavic combined to build an 11 point lead before Eoin Quigley opened his account to cut the quarter time gap to 24-15.

Éanna piled on the pressure early in the second and despite Jokubaitis landing a monster three, Mark Reynolds and Josh Wilson hit scores from inside, outside and the free throw line to fire the hosts 33-18 ahead. Quigley and Calixte hit a couple of major score to edge the Warriors closer before Reynolds, Zecavic, Gilmore and Nelson were all in range to push the lead back out to 16. A number of highly contentious calls went the way of the home side much to the displeasure of the Warriors but they showed resolve late in the quarter to halve the Éanna lead through Calixte, Jokubaitis and Quigley to a more manageable 41-33 at the long break.

The Warriors needed a fast start to the third quarter but it was Éanna that launched a blistering run of scores from Dolenko, Zecavic, Nelson and Gilmore to build what looked like a game winning lead of 62-38. The Warriors could only provide token resistance to the onslaught before Fergal O’Sullivan was on the mark from either side of the arc but a three from Niall Lynch and another gravity defying effort from Gilmore maintained Éanna’s 24 point lead. The Warriors kept their slight glimmer of hope alive late on when Jokubaitis, Quigley and O’Sullivan from the free throw line cut the gap to 69-53 to Éanna at the sides headed into the final quarter.

Despite the double digit deficit, the Warriors looked determined to chase down the lead early in the final quarter when Roso, Calixte and Ron Elksnis cut the gap to 12. However, Éanna were finding scores when they needed them and Nelson, Zecavic and Gilmore quickly restored the three-quarter time lead. But just when the Warriors were staring certain defeat in the face, Daniel Jokubaitis produced a sensational hat trick of three pointers to see the Warriors trail by just 8 with 3 minutes to play. Fergal O’Sullivan pulled up for a three in transition but when his effort rimmed out Éanna replied with a trio of scores from Wilson, Gilmore and Dolenko to ease the hosts nerves. A difference of opinion with one of the referees saw Warriors Coach John Dowling ejected late on before Jokubaitis added another two scores to complete his game high tally of 25 points and Aaron Fleming hit the final score of the game with a three to leave the final score 85-75.

Scorers: DBS Éanna: Stefan Zecavic 21, Devin Gilmore 20, Romonn Nelson 13

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Daniel Jokubaitis 25, Aaron Calixte 17, Eoin Quigley 11

Next up for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is the visit of Moycullen to the Tralee Sports Complex in Round 12 of Super League on Saturday next with tip off at 5.00pm.

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