InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2022/2023 – Round 14
Flexachem KCYMS 78
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 90
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors negotiated their way past Flexachem KCYMS to keep their hopes of claiming the fourth and final playoff place alive in a highly entertaining local derby encounter at a packed Killorglin Sports Complex on Saturday night. Buoyed by the result from Cork the previous night where final playoff place rivals EnergyWise Ireland Neptune were edged out by UCC Demons in a thrilling 93-91 Leeside derby, the Warriors now are in full control of their Super League destiny. They sit just one win behind Neptune with the prospect of a final League game showdown in Tralee now looking more likely than ever.
In a cracking opening quarter the sides went all out on offence with Daniel Jokubaitis launching the first three of the night and Dre Jackson and Matija Jokic combining the Warriors took the early initiative. However the hosts weathered the early volley and Axels Skaistlauks, Pharoah Gordon, Liam Croke and Jani Griffith replied to edge Killorglin ahead. Jokubaitis and Gordon exchanged major scores before former Neptune star Aleix Tarradellas cut loose with a hat trick of threes either side of trademark effort from Fergal O’Sullivan and after a frantic opening quarter the hosts led 26-23.
The Warriors asserted early in the second and Eoin Quigley and Rich Dunham had the visitors back in front before scores from Kelly and Skaistlauks drew the sides level. The shooting from distance became infectious with Liam Croke hitting his second three of the night but Fergal O’Sullivan wound up for another cracking effort from outside and backed that up to land the score of the night from beyond the arc. Killorglin then took their chance to lift the home crowd with major scores from Kelly and Skaistlauks. Despite Quigley and Jokubaitis cutting the gap to a single point, a late double from RJ Kelly gave the hosts a very healthy 47-42 lead at the long break.
As they did in Ballincollig last week, the Warriors catapulted out of the traps in the third quarter to turn around a five-point deficit and build a nine-point lead midway through the quarter. The scores simply rained down with three threes from Jokubaitis either side of a three and an inside double from Dre Jackson and suddenly the Warriors led 58-49. The hosts were rocked by the onslaught but scores from Gordon, Griffith and Skaistlauks kept the gap to single figures. Matija Jokic then opened up to land four scores either side of a Quigley floated effort but Killorglin found the space and time to allow Kelly and Gordon to fire in from outside to cut the Warriors three quarter time lead to 68-60 and keep the game alive.
The outstanding Tarradellas caught sight of the basket twice more from distance early in the fourth and when Gordon also added another major the Warriors lead was wiped out. Jackson lit up to restore the Warriors advantage from either side of the arc and when Fergal O’Sullivan hit his fourth three of the night the gap was back out to ten. Tarradellas continued to torment the Warriors rear-guard with another couple of scores either side of the arc either side of an RJ Kelly drive but Jokic capped a quality display from the Warriors with a stunning three from the top of the arc to put the contest to bed. The hosts were in foul trouble late on and Jackson and Jokubaitis cemented the win from the free throw line and secured the 90-78 win in the end.
Flexachem KCYMS: Aleix Tarradellas 20, RJ Kelly 18, Pharoah Gordon 15
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Dre Jackson 22, Daniel Jokubaitis 21, Matija Jokic 21, Fergal O’Sullivan 12
Next up for the Warriors is a home fixture against Super League newcomers EJ AllStars Sligo who make the trip to Tralee for the first time. It is the first of three home games in row for the Warriors and action gets underway at Tralee Sports Complex next Saturday night with tip off at 7.30pm.
POST MATCH AUDIO:
Warriors Head Coach John Dowling says the big third quarter by his team was the difference between the sides…
He says their next up opponents Sligo will relish the trip to Tralee next week…
Flexachem KCYMS Coach Declan Wall saya his side struggled to contain the Warriors third quarter effort…
He says his side is still learning the ways of Super League…