Team Left Bank Kilkenny took the road to Galway again on Saturday to face one of the national basketball league’s favourites, Galway Titans in their new venue in Knocknacurra.
This was always going to be a tough ask as Titans have a very strong team. They are been unbeaten since their first game of the season. However, Team Left Bank had a game plan to contain Titans and keep it tight in the first half to give them a chance to pick up a third win in-a-row.
The first quarter was a bit edgy for both teams as they adjusted to the new surroundings. It was Titans who settled quickest and found a scoring rhythm through their American point guard.
Eventually The Bank settled and picked up a few scores through James Butler and Puff Summers. The quarter ended 21 versus 12 to the home team.
In the second The Bank were guilty of some poor defending, leaving Titans in for some easy buckets. At the other end there were no easy scores and the team had to work hard for every basket.
The game was still within a manageable margin of 13 points with just seconds left on the clock after a fine basket from Puff Summers.
However, a lack of communication left Titan’s American open for a big three pointer right on the buzzer to give the home team even more momentum going in at the break. The score was now 44-28.
Sixteen points is not an insurmountable lead in basketball, and with Brian Hogan and Philip Brennan shooting the ball exceptionally well in the third quarter, The Bank kept in touch. However, the main issue was the easy concession of baskets, particularly in the Titans transition play that continued to deflate the visitors who again were forced to work very hard to get shots off.
The third quarter ended with the score 72-50.
In the last quarter Vincentas Slovikas featured and played very well for The Bank, while Lughaidh O’Neill was fouled out after putting in a solid defensive shift. Titans ran in a few late lay-ups to put even more gloss on the scoreline of 86-61.
Credit to the Kilkenny outfit, they never gave up until the final buzzer.
Team Left Bank were beaten due to poor teamwork at the defensive end of the floor and a lack of penetration on the offensive end. Lukasz Szulc’s absence was a big blow, but the team can take heart from a great shooting display from Brian Hogan and Philly Brennan, while James Butler was super throughout.
Puff Summers will still be wondering why he had no free throws in a game where he soaked up a lot of contact going to the basket.
At the weekend the team take the long road to Donegal where they break from the rigour of the league and kick start their National Cup campaign.
The team enjoyed a great cup run two years ago. They will be looking for a win on Saturday to set up a mouth-watering home tie against Eanna of the Dublin men’s league in the quarter-finals in December.
Scorers - James Butler (20), Brian Hogan (14), Philip Brennan (11), Puff Summers (8), Padraig Morrissey (6), Eugene Walsh (2), Lughaidh O’Neill, Vincentas Slovikas, Liam O’Shaughnessy, Sean Kenny, Dusan Rabat, Sam Martin.