Warriors take Neptune hit ahead of UCD test

InsureMyVan.ie Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 16

C&S Neptune 91

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 81

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors will take on UCD Marian in the Super League playoff quarter final in Tralee next weekend following the final round of Conference games over the weekend. Defeat to C&S Neptune on Saturday night mattered little as the final standings in the South Conference were already determined ahead of the game. What wasn’t known was the final order of the first four of the North Conference following the dramatic withdrawal of Belfast Star owing to an ‘inadvertent error’ made by the club in registering their outstanding player this season Max Cooper altered the final standings. The fallout from the Belfast withdrawal is that C&S Neptune are set to face Killester, DBS Éanna will host NUIG Maree and Griffith College Templeogue travel to play Tradehouse Central Ballincollig next weekend.

To the action on the court and C&S Neptune were into their stride straight away racing to a 13-3 lead early on after Nils Sabata opened their account followed by two threes from Alex Tarradellas and one from Richaud Gittens with the Warriors response limited to an effort from outside from Darragh O’Hanlon. The Warriors chipped away at the Neptune lead through Nikola Roso, Keelan Crowe, Daniel Jokubaitis, Fergal O’Sullivan, and Brandon Cotton but Neptune would finish the quarter as they started it with another run of threes from Gittens, Miles Washington and Scott Hannigan to extend their comfortable lead to 29-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Two threes from Roso and Aaron Calixte cut the Neptune gap early in the second quarter, but the hosts looked much more in tune and Cian Heaphy and Washington combined to push the lead out to 12. The impressive Sabata hit two scores before Gittens added his second three to edge Neptune further ahead but baskets from Calixte, Roso and Elksnis kept the Warriors just about in touch. The Tralee side got into foul trouble and Sabata made five trips to the line and fortunately for the Warriors shot just 5 from 10 but his side still led 52-36 at the long break.

The Warriors dug deep in the third to stay in the contest and a hat trick of threes from O’Hanlon, Calixte and Eoin Quigley brought the hosts back within range. But Neptune responded with a major score from Washington followed by another from inside from Sabata and a huge trademark dunk from Heaphy to maintain their double-digit lead. Keelan Crowe found the target from distance to keep the Warriors revival going but the momentum shifted back to Neptune when Gittens fired in a three following the lead of his player coach Colin O’Reilly and was on the mark again with a contested buzzer beater that the officials allowed to stand that left the Cork side with a 72-59 as the sides headed into the final quarter.

The Warriors to their credit embarked an impressive scoring run in the final quarter to keep their hopes of an unlikely win alive. Five consecutive threes from Calixte, O’Hanlon, Fergal O’Sullivan and Jokubaitis with two had the Warriors bench on their feet as they cut the gap to 82-74 with 2 minutes left on the clock. However the Warriors late run was halted when Sabata fired in and then profited from a turnover to lay up uncontested to steady the Neptune ship. It was left to Cian Heaphy to underline the score line with a three for Neptune right on the final buzzer.

Scorers: C&S Neptune: Nils Sabata 26, Richaud Gittens 17, Cian Heaphy 13

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Aaron Calixte 19, Daniel Jokubaitis 13, Darragh O’Hanlon 9

Next up for Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is the last chance for the Warriors faithful fans to see them in action in Tralee this season when they host UCD Marian in the SuperLeague playoff quarter final at the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night with tip off at 7.30pm.

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