InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 14
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 93
NUIG Maree 79
Garvey’s Tralee Warriors took a major step towards securing a home League quarter-final playoff following a comprehensive 93-79 win over NUIG Maree at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night. The win avenges the defeat suffered by the Warriors when the sides met in Galway last November.
The Warriors started brightly with Aaron Calitxe and Nikola Roso combining for the Warriors first five scores to lead before scores from Lovre Tvrdic, John Burke and Deondre Jackson levelled the contest midway through the quarter. Tvrdic and Jackson were in range again to edge the Galway side ahead before Eoin Quigley stepped to board and Ron Elksnis fired in his first score to see the sides level at 21-21 at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors stepped up the pace early in the second and two cracking three-point scores from Daniel Jokubaitis and Elksnis who was also in range from inside pushed the host 32-23 ahead. Jeryn Lucas and Stephen Commins replied to keep Maree in touch, but another three from Jokubaitis sparked the Warriors to shoot their way to a double-digit lead with Roso and Elksnis dominating the exchanges under the Maree board. Two scores from Tvrdic and another from Luca Krajlic kept the Maree flame lit but Aaron Calixte brought the huge crowd out of their seats with a showstopping three in the dying seconds to see the Warriors lead 49-39 at the long break.
The impressive Deondre Jackson fired Maree back into the game with scores from either side of the arc but Nikola Roso’s hard work in the paint paid off with three scores in a row and when Aaron Calixte repeated the dose with a hat trick of his own the Warriors were in full control. Maree were struggling to make any impression on the Warriors lead but a quick run of scores from Jackson, Krajlic, and threes from Lucas and Stephen Commins cut the gap to 10. Ron Elksnis continued his best performance of the season to fire in from inside and out before Brandon Cotton pulled up to float in his first score of the game and the Warriors led 76-60 at the end of the third.
The Warriors continued to keep the visitors at arms-length with scores from Jokubaitis, Cotton and Elksnis but Maree’s never-say-die attitude saw them halve the Warriors lead to 10 with Jackson again showing his ability to hit tough shots. However a super score from Calixte coming straight up the lane eased the home side back into a comfortable double-digit lead. Tvrdic and Krajlic offered token resistance for Maree late on, but the outstanding Aaron Calixte capped another top-class display firing in from inside and outside the arc saw the Warriors take a big step towards returning to the Complex for a League quarter final play off in mid-March. The win sees off the Maree challenge for second place on the table, but keen rivals C&S Neptune now remain the only team that can deny the Cup champions a home quarter final. With one final twist in the tale, the Warriors face a trip to play Neptune in the last home and away game in Neptune Stadium on March 12th.
Top scorers: Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Ron Elksnis 24, Aaron Calixte 22, Nikola Roso 15
NUIG Maree: Deondre Jackson 25, Lovre Tvrdic 13, Jeryn Lucas 10
Next up for the Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is a local derby with Team 360 Financial Killorglin in the Killorglin Sports Complex on Saturday 5th March in the penultimate Southern Conference fixture of the season with tip off at 7.15pm.