Men’s Super League 2022/2023 – Round 17

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 84

Killester 54

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors remain in contention for place in the Super League playoffs after impressively securing their sixth win in a row by overpowering an understrength Killester at a packed Tralee Sport Complex on Saturday night. Killester played without the services of some of their big guns with Gregorio Adon, Conroy Baltimore, Ciaran Roe, Paddy Sullivan and most notably former Warrior Paul Dick all watching on from the sideline. That said, the Warriors took to the court without Daniel Jokubaitis who sat out the contest due to suspension.

The Warriors began with the intent of a team determined to put the contest beyond the reach of the visitors in short order and an early scoring blitz built a 13-4 lead with scores from Eoin Quigley, Dre Jackson and Fergal O’Sullivan from either side of the arc. Killester’s resistance was limited to back to back scores from captain Alan Casey and free throws from Lucas Fernandez but when Steven Bowler, Majita Jokic and Rich Dunham converted either side of another trademark three from Fergal O’Sullivan the Warriors assumed total control. John Behan, Eoghan Kiernan and Eric Westbrookes kept the visitors in range but Jokic hooked in a buzzer beater to see the Warriors lead 27-14 at quarter time.

The Warriors intensity dropped noticeably in the second quarter allowing Killester to play their way back into contention with Tomas Fernandez, Casey and John Behan leading the charge. Rich Dunham arced in a cracking three from the top of the key and Quigley and Jokic backed that up with scores from inside to keep the Warriors double-digit lead intact. However, Behan, Lucas Fernandez. Tomas Fernandez and Kiernan added either side of a Jokic three pointer to see the Dublin side cut the Warriors advantage to 39-30 at the long break.

Killester edged a little closer early in the third through Alan Casey but it sparked an immediate response from the Warriors that saw the hosts move swiftly into a comfortable 20 point lead. Threes from Quigley bookended a 13 point volley that saw Dre Jackson and Jokic both in range. John Behan kept his side in the contest with two threes but when Aivaras Ousis hit a cracking three from the corner, the Warriors took a likely game winning 58-43 lead into the final quarter.

The Warriors cut loose in the fourth and by the midway point had blown out their three quarter time lead out to 72-45. Killester could not live with the Warriors who were finding scores wherever they looked for them and a hat trick of threes from Quigley, Jokic and Jack Tobin spread the game completely. Killester’s token resistance came in the form of scores from Mark Convery, Tomas Fernandez and Casey but the Warriors arguably kept the best until last with brothers Aaron and Padraig Fleming entered the fray to bring the Warriors faithful to their feet by hitting a cracking three pointer each. Another major score from Kieran Donaghy delighted the home crowd as well as the entire Armagh football team and management who were in attendance. Jack Tobin capped an impressive cameo appearance by dropping in his second three of the night to secure an 84-54 win and keep the Warriors Super League flame lit for another week at least.

Scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors – Matija Jokic 19, Eoin Quigley 17, Dre Jackson 12

Moycullen: John Behan 15, Alan Casey 12, Tomas Fernandez 11

There is still the possibility for a twist or two as the teams approach the final two rounds of the regulation season. The equation remains the same for the Warriors – keep winning to set up a potential final game showdown with EnergyWise Ireland Neptune. However, Emporium Cork Basketball could be brought into the fourth place playoff place battle if they fail to secure wins from both their assignments next weekend when they take on DBS Éanna and Killester in back to back fixtures next Saturday and Sunday. All in all it does look like it will come down to a final day showdown with Neptune and a chance for Warriors to stay in the race to defend their title that at the turn of the year looks decidedly unlikely. It promises to be another special night at the Complex so the date for the diary is Saturday 11th March. In the meantime, the Warriors take the trip to Dublin to take on old rivals UCD Marian in a must win game next Saturday with tip off at the Belfield Sports Centre at 7.00pm.

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