It has been an unusual basketball season to date for Team Left Bank. They have played well, but lost four games.
The only positive result from the opening five games was a cup win against Dublin giants, Killester. Fans got a glimpse of a side that was on the edge of attaining consistency.
Last weekend TLB Kilkenny got off the mark in the league. A great performance away from home against third placed Eanna was followed on Saturday when Tolka Rovers came to town in the last 16 of the President’s Cup.
Having lost by a point in Dublin when the teams met in the league, the psychological advantage was with the visitors. This was quickly put to bed.
Within seconds Team Left Bank had raced to a 10-0 lead. Julian O’Keeffe was in supreme form in transition and Puff Summers was the able and willing provider.
The Bank were moving the ball extremely well and getting whatever shot they wanted at the offensive end. James Butler and Lukasz Szulc were in fine form and it seemed like the team could not miss.
All this great offensive play was made possible by the hard working attitude in defence. The players were relentless. They did not give Tolka a second, which led to a number of steals and shot clock violations.
The team dominated their boards, pulling down rebound after rebound. James Butler, Paul Leigh and Lukasz Szulc were superb in this respect, which has been a questionable area of TLB’s game in the past.
At the end of the quarter the home team had treated their supporters to a stunning display. The score was 36-14.
The team have a target each game to keep their opponents to an average of 15 points per quarter, which would give them a great chance of winning. They have been doing well for three quarters of matches, but have then faded.
With a 22 point lead the home side simply drove on. The Bank played tougher defence and were clinical in executing their offence every time. Tolka learned from the first quarter and were covering the fast break better, but they could not find a way through the defence.
It was impressive to see that as the bench was introduced throughout the standard of play rarely dropped. Competition for places is intense and there are a lot of players with a point to prove.
Kevin Donohoe was immense along with Rob Keenan, Brian Hogan, Lugh O’Neill and Padraig Morrissey. The team notched another 20 points in this quarter, bringing their tally to 56 for the half.
Tolka were limited to six points, leaving them with 20 for the half.
There are no soft touches in this league. There are no easy games. The difference is often that one team wants it more. This was the case on Saturday.
Tolka are a proud club. They were always going to make a run and they did in the third quarter. The Bank coped well. Tolka put together some smart offence to try and combat the zone, which had been so effective earlier.
Despite their efforts Team Left Bank kept the score board ticking over and managed to keep Tolka within the scoring goal for the quarter. They only managed 13 hard earned points.
TLB added 16 to leave the scores 72-37 at going into the final period.
The final quarter featured a new five players on court as the squad was rotated. Invaluable court time was given to the youngsters Dusan Rabat and James Robinson, who are two of the hardest working players in the squad.
This group did not disappoint either. They switched to an all action man to man defence and ran the floor with a lot of freedom and determination.
Again the visitors were held below the 15 point mark, hitting 12 points. The home team pushed on with an impressive 21 points, leaving the final score at 93 to 45.
Team Left Bank are into the quarter-finals against UCD Marian in Dublin on the first weekend of December. UCD dispatched Eanna by a 15 points in their game.
Next up for Team Left Bank is Titans, Galway who beat them in that cup final last January. This promises to be a cracking game. It is the last home game of 2014.
It is important to recognise the fantastic support that has been afforded the team since the start of the season, even when results were not good. TLB have the biggest support base of any team in the country, with the exception of one or two Premier League clubs.
The next game is on Saturday (6pm) in The Watershed as TLB look to close ou the schedule of home games for 2014 with a win over Titans. A game not to be missed!