Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Semi Final

DBS Éanna 57

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 75

In a repeat of the Pat Duffy National Cup final, Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and C&S Neptune will renew rivalries in the final of the Men’s Super League at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght next Saturday night. The sides made it through to the League decider after the semi-final action on Saturday and Sunday that saw the higher seeded teams with home advantage succumbing to their opponents, Neptune easily accounted for Tradehouse Central Ballincollig in an all-Cork affair and the Warriors inflicted more pain on DBS Éanna for the second time at the last four stage of a major competition this season. The Warriors could not have got off to a better start and produced arguably the best opening to a game this campaign. From the moment Eoin Quigley rolled the ball in off the tips of his fingers it set the scene for Warriors to impose themselves on the hosts. They immediately defended like their lives depended on it with Kieran Donaghy in particular dominating under his board and when Keelan Crowe followed Quigley’s suit and Darragh O’Hanlon fired in a trademark three, the Warriors led by 8-2. But by the time O’Hanlon repeated the dose after Aaron Calixte had weaved a path to the basket and Daniel Jokubaitis drilled a shot from beyond the arc, Éanna coach Darren McGovern had to call a timeout to stem the bleeding. A Stefan Zecevic three halted the Warriors run but Fergal O’Sullivan replied in kind to see the visitors out to a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter In a stop-start second quarter Éanna played their way back into the contest after Quigley had taken maximum value from a trip to the free throw line. Alex Dolenko did likewise at the other end of the court and when Daniel Heaney, Romonn Nelson and Zecevic all added the Warriors quarter time lead was all but wiped out. Jokubaitis and Calixte from inside and from the free throw line edged the Tralee side further ahead but Zecevic had the last word in the quarter for Éanna with a floated effort to cut the Warriors advantage to an underage basketball scoreline of 28-22 at half time. Josh Wilson hit a shot-clock buzzer beater to open the scoring in the third and cut the gap to 28-24 but the Warriors response was decisive with three scores from Calixte and another from Jobubaitis firing the Warriors out to a double-digit lead. Both teams found themselves in foul trouble early in the quarter, but half the resultant free throws were missed as the shooters on both sides struggled to convert. Amidst the hit and misses Daniel Jokubaitis got an open look at the Éanna basket and in customary style landed from outside the arc. Zecevic was again the go-to man for Éanna with a quick double, but Ron Elksnis would finish the quarter in style from inside and outside the arc after some excellent rebounding from Donaghy to give the Warriors a potentially game winning lead of 49-35 at three quarter time. Stefan Zecevic, Romonn Nelson and Mark Reynolds combined to pare back the lead early in the final quarter but Éanna Coach Darren McGovern had to call another time out when a three from Brandon Cotton and two from Jokubaitis restored the Warriors advantage to 14. A fifth foul saw Kieran Donaghy depart the scene after putting in a heroic shift, but it simply ignited the fire in the Warriors to go on a sensational scoring spree to put the semi-final well and truly to bed. It was Aaron Calixte who really put on a show of stunning offence in the final minutes landing two from inside and two from outside the arc with Jokubaitis and O’Hanlon, with his third three of the day, adding some gloss to the final score. The drumming and chanting continued long after the final buzzer as the Warriors supporters greeted and embraced their heroes. The focus now quickly switches to the trip to Tallaght again next Saturday night. Scorers: DBS Éanna: Stefan Zecavic 20, Devin Gilmore 20, Romonn Nelson 13Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Daniel Jokubaitis 25, Aaron Calixte 17, Eoin Quigley 11 Next up for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is another date with destiny when for the second time this season they take on C&S Neptune with the chance to add the League title to the National Cup. It will be an absolutely intriguing battle with Neptune looking to capture a League title for the first time since 2003. Tip off at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday evening is 7.00pm.

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