The O’Loughlin’s centre was packed with basketball fans on Saturday for Team Left Bank’s closing National League game of the season against Premier League opponents, Belfast Star.
The game was very competitive but the ’Bank did not look out of place against class opposition. With 7.23 minutes left in the final quarter Star’s Spanish player, Dustan Moriera intercepted a pass and broke the ring and backboard with a huge dunk. This action would ultimately end the game as the basketball was beyond repair.
The score was 42-56 to Belfast Star.
The first quarter was even. ’Star found it difficult to break the active Bank zone defence. James Butler and Puff Summers ran up scores for the home team. The quarter ended 14-12 for the visitors. It was evident the pace of ’Stars play was quicker than that of their Division 1 opponents.
Left Bank absorbed the pressure and forced Star to shoot from distance. Padraig Morrissey and Philip Brennan did a fantastic job on ’Stars American, who was a powerful inside threat and with Moriera is their top scorer.
Left Bank fell behind in the next quarter when they switched to man to man defence. They shipped a barrage of three pointers from the Quinn twins. The defence was swiftly changed but a 12 point gap had beem opened.
Left Bank dug deep and kept the scoreboard ticking over with baskets from O’Neill and a couple of free throws from Hogan. At half time the deficit was 13 points. During the break the the crowd was treated to a display of basketball from the stars of the future, the Kilkenny Stars under-12 girls team.
During the third quarter the teams matched each other basket for basket. Otis and Moriera and the Quinns’ were the main threats but Puff Summers and James Butler put in serious displays, scoring 33 points between them for the ’Bank. At the end of the quarter the gap was12 points.
The fourth quarter is when the ’Bank really kicks into overdrive. Belfast Star hit two quick scores but then Left Bank took over. Puff Summers was on top of his man, dominating him in the post. The team was extremely sharp in defence. At this point Moriera intercepted a pass and with a huge dunk he broke the ring and backboard.
This happening turned what had been bubbling into a fantastic finish into a big anti-climax. Amidst a certain amount of confusion it was decided that the game would have to be abandoned. A decision would be made during the week on what happens next.
This was definately a first for a game at the O’Loughlin’s centre. What will happen next will be known later in the week. If the game is to be replayed it must be before Saturday as the semi-finals and final are scheduled for this weekend in the Neptune Stadium, Cork.