Tuesday 25 April 2017

Basketball: Turner inspires Killester to title

Killester talisman Jermaine Turner, 31, blocks a shot by Joshua Johnson of UCC during yesterday's Men's Superleague National Cup final
Killester talisman Jermaine Turner, 31, blocks a shot by Joshua Johnson of UCC during yesterday's Men's Superleague National Cup final

USA import Jermaine Turner proved to be worth his weight in gold as he steered Killester to their fourth National Cup success with a stunning individual performance in Tallaght yesterday.

Turner produced an 'MVP' display after an all-round display that included a personal points tally of 29; he landed his first cup final medal after 10 years of playing club basketball in this country.

Having completed a clean sweep of silverware last year, the UCC Demons were tipped to secure back-to-back National Cup crowns, especially as they saw off the Dublin side earlier in the season.

However, Killester's miserly defence was crucial and they were in complete control of the tie by half-time. They saw the match out from there to exact revenge on the Leesiders for defeat in last year's decider.

The Dublin side laid down a marker early on in the opening quarter, with Paddy Kelly assisting Turner's efforts to wrest the crown from the Demons.

Niall O'Reilly was faring best for the Cork side at this point but even his three-point effort couldn't prevent the Dubliners going in 28-14 up at the end of the opening quarter.

Mammoth

The second quarter wasn't much different as Killester continued their dominance, with a Michael Goy three-pointer leaving a mammoth 36 points between the sides at the break (60-24).

Kyle Hosford and Shane Coughlan provided some hope for the Leesiders on the restart, but Killester never really looked threatened. The game as a contest was all but over at the end of the third quarter as Killester led 77-46.

The fourth period was a formality with Demons still failing to convert, while Killester gave no let-up in a one-sided contest as Robbie Clarke continued to punish the Demons with some excellent baskets.

Unsurprisingly, Killester coach Mark Keenan hailed his side's efforts.

"The guys were just super," said Keenan. "We were so up for it from the start. I am just absolutely thrilled.

"I never thought we would have it wrapped up at half-time --and at half-time I didn't think I had it wrapped up because there was so much basketball to be played.

"We gave ourselves a great opportunity to win it at half-time. But we had to come out and keep playing and we did.

"I could not have asked for any more from the players. The intensity -- it was defence in the first half. When you have guys who just want to play defence, it just makes my job so much easier."

Irish Independent

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