Team Left Bank went into Saturday’s National League game against Blue Demons four points behind the Leesiders with two games in hand.
It was essential for the home team to continue their great levels of performance in O’Loughlins and get a win. The ’Bank are usually favourites on Basketball Ireland’s website, but Blue Demons, the reigning double champions and TLB, had not earned that right as of yet.
Blue Demons settled quickly with Robbie McGowan hitting seven points in the first quarter. Shane Buckley also impressed from long range. For the homesters Puff Summers and Brian Hogan were the sharp shooters early as the home team hadn’t much joy with their inside game. James Butler was excellent in defence, picking up last year’s Superleague starter Carlton Cuff. At the end of the quarter the visitors led 14-20.
In the second quarter Team Left Bank upped the tempo. Despite excellent play from Carlton Cuff they reduced the margin to one point at the half. Puff Summers was the main threat and set the tempo for the team.
Despite being ill before the game, Philip Brennan was a rock in defence, picking up guards, posts or whoever came his direction and physically pushing himself to the limit. At half-time Team Left Bank trailed by just one point (29-30).
The third quarter has yielded mixed results for The Bank so it was make or break time. The introduction of Vincentas Slovikas brought the game to life. He picked off three steals and converted the fast break points along with a huge three pointer.
Padraig Morrissey and James Butler featured strongly in this quarter as more space was created inside. They proved too hot for Demons. It was game on! At the end of the third the score was 58-49 to the home team.
The last quarter called for cool heads. No one was cooler than Puff Summers. He hit an astonishing 15 from 16 free throws in the game. Eight came in the final quarter along with another huge three pointer as the physicality of the game increased.
It was essential the team played the full 40 minutes and kept attacking. The league system this year gives one point to a team who lose by six or less, so with both teams close in the table it was important to contain Demons.
Team Left Bank’s fourth quarter defence was excellent. In all the games the team has won, good defence has been the foundation. Five players got to double figures in the scoring in Team Left Bank’s 79-69 win over the Demons.
The crowd were fantastic. Fans really engaged in the game and got behind the team, particularly in the third quarter. The Left Bank have been up and down the country at various venues and nowhere have they seen a group of supporters who create an atmosphere like that in O’Loughlin’s.
This weekend there is a break in the league. It will be back to the National Shield with another mouth watering tie against Dublin men’s Division One outfit, Colaiste Eanna, who sit on top of their league. They spanked local rivals St Vincent’s in the first round.
A win on Saturday would put ‘The Bank’ into the Shield semi-final. They players are really looking forward to this one. Tip off time is at 4pm on Saturday in O’Loughlin’s.
Scorers - Puff Summers (28), Padraig Morrissey (13), Brian Hogan (13), Vincentas Slovikas (11), James Butler (10), Lugh O’Neill (2), Philip Brennan (2), Noel Murphy, Sean Kenny, Eugene Walsh, Liam O’Shaughnessy, Dusan Rabat.