Team Left Bank 74pts
After the disappointing of the previous week it was important that Team Left Bank Kilkenny bounced back against Neptune, Cork in the National League in O’Loughlin Gaels on Saturday. Another big crowd turned up and they was plenty to cheer about.
The pacey basketball lacking the previous week was used to full effect early on with Julian O’Keeffe and Enda Roberts running the floor and making life difficult for the Cork outfit.
Defensively Kilkenny have been one of the best all season. Neptune found out why, only managing an average of 13 points per quarter. At the end of the first quarter eight points divided the teams but Team Left Bank looked ccomfortable with point guard Dean Kavanagh dictating the pace.
Philip Brennan was a thorn in the side of the Corkmen in the first half, hitting 12 points and shooting 100% from the field. James Butler was back to his brilliant best, notching a number of excellent offensive rebounds resulting in follow up scores.
The gap was stretched to 12 points at the end of the half. While the home team looked comfortable, the team learned that at this level such a lead can be overturned. The team lost Enda Roberts through injury in this quarter. Hopefully he will be okay because he will be needed for the tough test in Ballina at the weekend.
At half-time five members of the crowd were picked to take part in the half way line competition for a cash prize of €100. There were a few close calls with Dean Kavanagh’s son, Dale, who is an Irish international at under-14 level, seeing his shot roll around the ring and pop out.
The third quarter has been a troublesome one for Team Left Bank. They have often let teams back into games. A quick score from James Butler should have set the team going, but then the home team conceded six unanswered points and a timeout had to be taken.
Whatever was said was inspirational. Kilkenny pushed on to score another 24 points in the quarter and banished the lingering third quarter dip in form. Lughaidh O’Neill was excellent, running the floor and forcing Neptune to defend in transition. Padraig Morrissey, James Butler and Andy Piper were too hot to handle inside and the guards were shooting the ball well.
The fourth quarter was satisfying for the management team as Team Left Bank passed the ball well and broke the press that Neptune applied. The team has certainly progressed and the experience of tough games has stood to the players.
Team Left Bank are now guaranteed qualification for the play-offs. At the start of the season the aim was to have a decent run in the cup and qualify for the play-offs. The team reached the semi-finals and were beaten by eventual winners, Dublin Thunder and are now waiting to see who they play in the play-offs.
Results next weekend will dictate whether or not Team Left Bank will play that quarter-final at home to Maree, Galway or away to Titans, Galway in two weeks. Not bad for the first season!
Scorers: Team Left Bank - Julian O’Keeffe (15), Philip Brennan (16), Dean Kavanagh (6), Enda Roberts (6), James Butler (19), Padraig Morrissey (8), Andy Piper (2), Lughaidh O’Neill (2), David Clerkin, Liam O’Shaughnessy.