Nar­row de­feat for All Stars

The Sligo Champion - - SPORT -

EJS SLIGO ALL STARS LET­TERKENNY IT 71 73

LYIT spoiled the party for the large home crowd in the Mercy Col­lege Gym on Satur­day night as they came out on top at the end of an ex­cit­ing, end to end game by a mar­gin of just one bas­ket. EJ’s Sligo All-Stars fought all the way to the end but just failed to equalise with the fi­nal play of the game.

In truth, the home team’s per­for­mance didn’t match their re­cent per­for­mances on the road and they will be hop­ing for a bet­ter per­for­mance to get back to win­ning ways next Satur­day Night against Gal­way’s Game­footage.net Ti­tans. (Tip Off 7.30pm, Mercy Col­lege Gym)

EJ’s All-Stars started with a first 5 of Matthew Don­nel­lan, Tobi Brock­mann, Inigo Za­balo (Capt.), Con­nor McCle­naghan and Zak Ba­lo­gun. In a scrappy 1st quar­ter LYIT took the early ini­tia­tive with their Amer­i­can Vic­tory Scholar Spencer Wil­liams lead­ing the way with 5 early points.

All-Stars cap­tain Za­balo kept the home team in con­tention with some nice drives to the bas­ket and Sligo’s own Vic­tory Scholar Zach Yonda chipped in with 5 points of his own. The Quar­ter ended with LYIT lead­ing by 17 points to 15.

EJ’s Sligo All-Stars got on top early in the 2nd Quar­ter with their other Vic­tory Scholar McCle­naghan lead­ing the way on the scor­ing front with 7 of the home teams first 9 points of the Quar­ter.

Even­tual top scorer Wil­liams led the re­sis­tance for LYIT scor­ing an in­cred­i­ble 14 of his teams to­tal of 19 points in the 2nd Quar­ter.

All-Stars main­tained the nar­row­est of leads at the end of the Half on a score­line of 37-36.

It was nip and tuck all the way through the next 2 Quar­ters as well as the crowd cer­tainly got plenty of ex­cite­ment even if the qual­ity was mod­er­ate.

All-Stars looked at times dur­ing this Quar­ter like they might take con­trol but each time LYIT pulled them back and in the end it was the visi­tors who lead by 1 at the end of the 3rd Quar­ter, 55-54.

LYIT ex­tended their lead to 5 points af­ter the restart as Sligo’s of­fence failed to pen­e­trate the away teams Zone De­fence and their shoot­ing also let them down. McCle­naghan got the home team onto the score­board with a nice turn and hook shot but LYIT im­me­di­ately re­sponded to go 5 ahead again.

Tobi Brock­mann re­sponded with a bas­ket for the All-Stars to leave just 3 be­tween the teams. LYIT’s Paul McHugh stepped up to score 2 free throws and put the away team 5 up again.

EJ’s All-Stars were strug­gling on de­fence to con­tain the away team at this stage and the game was be­gin­ning to slip away from them.

Ten­sion was build­ing nicely with 6 min­utes on the clock and the large home sup­port started to get be­hind their team.

Oisin O’Reilly’s 3 pointer was greeted with loud cheers and the All-Stars were back within 2.

Next up Brock­mann took a pass from Za­balo in the cor­ner and coolly slot­ted an­other 3 pointer.

Now EJ’s Sligo All-Stars led by 1 and the home crowds cheer lifted the roof. LYIT con­tin­ued to trou­ble the Sligo de­fence though and on their next of­fence Za­balo coughed up his 5th foul and was out of the game.

Spencer Wil­liams max­imised the dam­age by ex­e­cut­ing both free throws and LYIT were ahead again.

With the home crowd on ten­ter­hooks the All-Stars re­sponded well and Brock­mann put them back in front.

Foul trou­ble struck again for Sligo though as Amer­i­can McCle­naghan com­mit­ted his fifth foul and had to leave the game. Again, LYIT went to the free throw line and lev­elled the game at 66 all with just over 4 min­utes re­main­ing.

Both teams were play­ing with real in­ten­sity at this stage and bas­kets were hard to come by. LYIT’s Dil­lon Mul­doon scored a 2 pointer with 3 min­utes to go and the refs called a foul to give him an op­por­tu­nity to make it a 3-point play much to the cha­grin of the home crowd.

De­spite the crowds best ef­forts to put him off Mul­doon nailed the free throw to send the away team into a 3-point lead again.

Wil­liams then ex­tended their lead to 5 with 2 more free throws af­ter an­other foul by the home team.

It looked bad for the Al­lS­tars when Wil­liams scored an­other bas­ket to put LYIT into a 7 point lead on a score­line of 73-66 with just 1.54 left on the clock.

Home team Coach Car­los Ro­driguez called a Time­Out and the crowd prayed for a re­sponse from their troops.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the restart their prayers were an­swered with a sweet bas­ket from Yonda. 5 points in it and the crowd started to be­lieve again.

All-Stars de­fence had also tight­ened up and LYIT were de­nied on their next of­fence.

With 1.14 on the clock Em­met Keogh was fouled when shoot­ing and scored one of the re­sult­ing free throws to re­duce the lead to 4 points.

Again the All-Stars de­fence shut out the away team on their next of­fence and then Brock­mann scored a Layup af­ter a nice pas­sage of play from the All-Stars to leave just 2 points in it and 46.5 sec­onds on the clock.

An­other Time-Out af­ter which the home crowd roared as their team re­turned to the court. LYIT had the ball but again the Al­lS­tars de­fence man­aged a shut out to set up an ex­tremely tense fi­nal 10 sec­onds.

All-Stars man­aged to cre­ate an op­por­tu­nity for Je­sus San­Martin un­der the bas­ket but he ap­peared to be fouled as he at­tempted to con­vert and the shot fell short.

The ref­er­ees thought oth­er­wise and LYIT had held on for a 2 point win, 73-71, and now progress to the Cup Quar­ter Fi­nals.

EJ’s Sligo All-Stars are back to league ac­tion at home again this Satur­day night 3rd Novem­ber against bot­tom of the table Gal­way Ti­tans with a tip off time of 7.30pm in the Mercy Col­lege gym.

Top scorers for EJ’s Sligo All-Stars were Zach Yonda 16, Tobi Brock­mann 15 and Con­nor McCle­naghan 11.

EJ’s Sligo All-Stars: Inigo Za­balo (Capt.), Zack Yonda, Tobi Brock­mann, Mark Cham­bers, Con­nor McCleneghan, Je­sus San­Martin, Matthew Don­nel­lan, Em­met Keogh, Oisin O’Reilly, Zak Ba­lo­gun, Jake Cromey, Aaron Walsh.

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