Men’s Super League 2022/2023 – Round 18

UCD Marian 70

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 88

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors have given themselves every chance to secure a place in the Super League playoffs as they easily accounted for UCD Marian by 88-70 at the Belfield Sports Centre last night. Allied to their win, their nearest rivals EnergyWise Ireland Neptune suffered somewhat of a shock defeat to Griffith College Templeogue who took the Cork side to task at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght to win by 30 points. Neptune’s loss means that next Saturday night’s game is now just a straight win or lose and the Warriors no longer have to bridge a 10 point difference in scores to eclipse their 9 point defeat to Neptune in Cork earlier in the season.

The action in Belfield got off to a blistering start with both teams happy to make it a straight shootout. The sides hit a combined eleven three pointers in an incredible first quarter with Daniel Jokubaitis and Jonathan Jean turning the period into a private three point duel. It was Jean that kept the hosts in the game early as the Warriors set about imposing themselves on the contest and by the time Jokubaitis hit his fourth three, added to by efforts from Matija Jokic, Dre Jackson and Eoin Quigley, the visitors led 19-8. However the Warriors were held scoreless for the remainder of the quarter with Marian turning the tables with two threes from Matthew McGrath, another from Ronan Byrne and a 10 point salvo from Jean saw the hosts lead 27-19 at quarter time.

The second quarter was a more tempered affair and Sortris Miltiadis edged Marian further ahead early on but Rich Dunham replied immediately with a major score for the Warriors and when Jokic and Jackson hit back to back threes, Marian Coach Ioannis Liapakis called an urgent timeout. It had the desired effect as the hosts finished the quarter the stronger with McGrath and Byrne on the mark either side of another Jokubaitis special and at the long break Marian with a 40-35 lead were still the team to beat.

The half time break reinvigorated the Warriors and they came out with a relentless offensive assault on the Marian rear-guard hitting scores from all angles to effectively put the contest beyond the reach of the college side. Quigley, Jokic, Jokubaitis and Jackson simply had their way with Marian who could not live with the Warriors onslaught. Jean continued to spark for the hosts with scores from inside and out but they were purely token efforts as the Warriors took total control of the contest. Jokic knocked down a belter of a three to give the Warriors a double digit lead before Steven Bowler and Dunham added four from four from the line and right on the buzzer Keelan Crowe landed a tough shot to see the Tralee side 66-51 up at the end of the third.

The Warriors kept the scoreboard ticking over early in the fourth with Quigley and Dunham stretching their advantage out to 76-53. Ronan Byrne and Jean kept the home side in touch but when Dunham and Jack Tobin both arced in major scores the gap was out to 25. Jean, who was impressive throughout the contest for Marian, added from either side of the arc to bring his personal tally on the night to 35. Jokic and Jokubaitis quickly replied to maintain the wide margin but David Nash, Ronan Byrne and Dimitrios Theocharis were in range late to put a slightly better look to the final scoreline of 88-70.

Scorers: UCD Marian: Jonathan Jean 35, Ronan Byrne 14, David Nash and Sotiris Miltiadis 4

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors – Daniel Jokubaitis 23, Matija Jokic 17, Rich Dunham 17

The equation for Warriors has become a little clearer and a little more favourable after the action over the weekend. It was assumed that Neptune would continue their run of wins but with defeat in Tallaght they are now on the same number of wins as Warriors going into the final round game next weekend. As it stands the winners of the final game showdown in Tralee next week will make the playoffs. There are permutations still to work themselves out to sort out the final standings but Saturday night was a good night at the office for John Dowling’s charges – next Saturday night has the potential to be even better.

The final round of action in the Men’s Super League sees Garvey’s Tralee Warriors host EnergyWise Ireland in a winner take all clash at the Tralee Sports Complex. A bumper crowd is expected so the advice is to get to the venue early. Tip off next Saturday night is at 7.30pm.

%d bloggers like this: