All-Stars are three wins from three on the road this season
EJ’S SLIGO ALL-STARS 77 83
EJ’S Sligo All-Stars are now 3 wins from 3 on the road this season following an 83-77 win on Saturday afternoon against Ulster Elks at the Jordanstown Campus. The All-Stars controlled the game from the start and enjoyed a 30 point lead at one stage before being pegged back in the 4th Quarter to eventually finish winners by 6.
EJ’s Sligo All-Stars started with a first 5 of Oisín O’Reilly, Tobi Brockmann, American Zack Yonda, Jesus SanMartin and Inigo Zabalo. Ballisodare native Tobi Brockmann made his presence felt immediately with a nice lay up under pressure which drew a foul from the Elks defence and he followed up with the free throw to make it a 3-point play. Strong defence by Oisín O’Reilly and Jesus SanMartin in the next play left O’Reilly with the ball on a fast break and he set up Brockmann for a long range 3 pointer to leave the away team leading 6-2. Elks responded with a 3-point play of their own but there was no stopping Brockmann in the early part of the game as he landed another lay-up and followed up with a further 3 pointer. A combination of poor shooting from Elks, strong defence by All-Stars and some excellent offensive play by EJ’s Sligo All-Stars saw the away team continue to dominate and lead at the end of the first quarter on a score line of 28-12.
It was more of the same in the 2nd quarter as EJ’s Sligo All-Stars extended their lead on their first offence with a 3 pointer from the corner by Zack Yonda. They kept the pressure on the home team with further baskets by former coach Alberto Garcia, 3 baskets in a row from Spaniard Jesus San Martin and free throws from Yonda and Brockmann. All-Stars were rampant during the early stages of the 2nd quarter and added to their tally with a nice pull up jump shot from O’Reilly, lay up from Inigo Zabalo and a basket by American McClenaghan following some good work on the offensive boards. EJ’s Sligo All-Stars lead 48-23 with 4 minutes left on the clock when Elks called a time out to try and interrupt the away team’s momentum. It didn’t have the desired effect however as the All-Stars added the next 5 points to reach a 30-point lead. Elks steadied themselves for the last couple of minutes and the half ended with the All-Stars leading 57-30.
All-Stars started the 2nd half with Zabalo, SanMartin, Brockmann, O’Reilly and Yonda. The 2 teams traded baskets for much of the 3rd Quarter but the home team were slowly creeping back into the game as the quarter wore on.
Despite increasing pressure EJ’s Sligo All-Stars still held what looked like a comfortable 19-point lead at the end of the 3rd Quarter, 73-54
The lead proved to be anything but comfortable as the home side pushed the All-Stars all the way in the 4th. All-Stars started the quarter with Zabalo, McClenaghan, Garcia, Chambers and O’Reilly. They started brightly with a nice hook shot by McClenaghan and a good effort from SanMartin following good offensive rebounding to extend their lead to 23 again. The home team responded immediately with a 3 pointer before EJ’s Sligo All-Stars interim coach Pau Vila called a Time-Out. Elks dominated again from the restart and suddenly their shots started to fall for them. Their deficit was reduced to 15 before another time out. A full court press being employed by Elks was beginning to pay dividends as the All-Stars energy levels started to fade and they conceded fouls and points from the free throw line. Now it was the All-Stars turn to struggle to get the baskets to fall for them and what once seemed an unassailable lead was quickly whittled down to just 3 points, 79-76 with 38.5 seconds remaining in the game. Coach Vila called his final TimeOut and gathered his troops. The Time Out allowed All-Stars to inbound the ball in the front court and a well-orchestrated move by the All-Stars coupled with some fine individual skill by American McClenaghan was finished with an emphatic dunk by the American Victory Scholar. With the lead back up to 5 the pressure was back on the home side to make something happen quickly. A quick 3-point effort was missed, and the rebound was taken by SanMartin for the All-Stars who offloaded to ball carrier Zabalo. He was immediately fouled and as the Elks were on team fouls it put Zabalo on the free throw line. While both free throws were missed, All-Stars managed to win the rebound from the 2nd free throw and kill off more valuable seconds. The ball went out of play with 11.5 seconds on the clock and All-Stars leading 81-76. Elks managed to get to the free throw line and made one from two to reduce the deficit to 4 but with only 5 seconds left they fouled O’Reilly immediately after the ball was inbounded from the free throw. O’Reilly calmly went to the free throw line and nailed both shots to leave the away team with the victory on a final score line of 83-77.
EJ’s Sligo All-Stars are now 3 wins from five games and continue their season with another away game against Tolka Rovers in Dublin this Saturday with a tip off time of 6pm. Top scorers for EJ’s Sligo All-Stars were Connor McClenaghan 18, Tobi Brockmann 17, Jesus SanMartin 15.
EJ’S Sligo All-Stars: Inigo Zabalo, Oisin O’Reilly, Zack Yonda, Tobi Brockmann, Mark Chambers, Connor McCleneghan, Jesus SanMartin, Alberto Garcia, Zak Balougan.
Sean Sheerin of Sheerins Bus Hire Cliffoney presenting a new set of jerseys to Cliffoney Celtic FC for the new season. Included in the picture are Gary O’Connor, Dessie O’Connor, Sean Sheerin, Alan Wallace, Oisín Watters & Michael Watters.
Oisín O’Reilyof EJ’s Sligo All-Stars.
Naomh Eoin team that were runners up in the Expert Electrical Sligo U16 Hurling Championship final. Pics: Darragh Cox.
Easkey/St Farnan’s team that won the Expert Electrical Sligo U16 Hurling Championship final in Scarden on Saturday