InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2023/2024 – Round 9
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 87
Ulster University 82
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors continued their winning streak making it four in a row with an 87-82 win over Ulster University in an absolutely cracking game at the Tralee Sports Complex Saturday night. The Belfast based side were making their first appearance in Tralee and they bravely fought the Warriors all the way down the stretch before the home side finally asserted late on to prevail by 5 in the end.
In a tightly contested and highly entertaining first quarter both sides set out their stall to play five on five basketball with the Warriors seizing the initiative through Daniel Jokubaitis with a signature three and a double from Jarvis Doles saw them lead 8-2. The impressive Jalen Hodge landed the first of his six major scores to spark a response and when Adam Ryan did likewise the visitors took the lead. Jokubaitis got another open look to hit his second three before Ryan Leonard opened his account but Hodge, Jordan Jackson and Igor Markiewicz combined to keep Ulster University in front. The Warriors edged ahead through Leonard, Rap Buivydas and Cian Sullivan but Markiewicz second of the quarter tied the game at 20-20 at quarter time.
The second quarter was a pure shootout as both sides let fly with a double from Sullivan and Buivydas for Warriors countered by the same from Eric Anderson and Markiewicz for Ulster Uni as the teams remained deadlocked. Two cracking threes from Jokubaitis lit a fuse at the other end of the court with Hodge replying in kind and Ryan and Jackson following suit the big scores simply rained down. Ryan Leonard drove his way to the board to level the game for the seventh time but when Doles chipped in a quick fire six points and Jokubaitis again found nothing by net from outside the Warriors led 51-45 at the half time break.
Into the third and Adam Ryan added from either side of the arc to cut the Warriors advantage but when Doles, Leonard, Jokubaitis were all in range and captain Eoin Quigley nailed a monster three the lead was suddenly out to 62-50 midway through the quarter. Jackson and Hodge who was a threat throughout and Robbie Graham combined to keep the visitors within striking distance and when Anderson found the Warriors net from either side of the arc the lead was down to 67-61 at three quarter time.
The Warriors moved 8 points clear when Ryan Leonard hit two from two from the line early in the fourth but Graham with a three and a seven point salvo from Hodge levelled the contest for the eighth time on the night. The Warriors fans were in full voice when Leonard and Quigley were both on the mark to ease them back in front and got louder when Doles pushed the advantage out to five. However Ulster Uni were determined to make their first trip to Tralee a winning one when another stunning major from Hodge saw a single score between the teams with 1’30’’ on the clock. The visitors were now in team fouls and Virgin Media MVP Ryan Leonard held his nerve to put the Warriors in a game winning position as the clock ticked down. But just when the League points looked secure that man Hodge repeated the dose to hit a belter of a three to make it a one point game within the final minute. It was left to Leonard and Doles with a pair of clutch free throws each to finally settle the contest at 87-82 in what was one of the best Super League games at the Complex for a long time.
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Ryan Leonard 22, Jarvis Doles 20, Daniel Jokubaitis 17
Ulster University: Jalen Hodge 31, Adam Ryan 14, Jordan Jackson 13
The Warriors are at home again next weekend in an eagerly anticipated clash with Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig@MTU in a dress rehearsal for the InsureMyHouse.ie Pat Duffy National Cup semi-final in Neptune Stadium on the 6th January. Both teams will be keen to test themselves against each other ahead of what promises to be a supreme showdown next month. After that the Warriors take part in the Castleisland Blitz just after Christmas before facing another of the Cup semi-finalists, EnergyWise Ireland Neptune, in another mouth watering clash in Tralee on Friday 29th December.