Westbrooks inspires Killester
11890 Killester 84 Bord Gais Neptune 80
If there was a way to bottle excitement, the opportunist entrepreneur would have made a small fortune at the National Basketball Arena yesterday afternoon.
After a dogfight, Killester managed to overcome the monumental fight put up by a Neptune side appearing in their first league final since 2003.
This was a chance for the Dublin outfit to banish the ghost of their Cup final defeat to UCD Marian at the same venue in January, but Neptune made a blistering start with Michael McGinn helping himself to three two-pointers only seconds into the game.
Killester quickly established their footing with captain Isaac Westbrooks landing a basket before Jermaine Turner lifted the full house with a spectacular dunk. When Robbie Clark landed two threes on the bounce it looked as if Killester were going pull away with ease as the score stood at 30-16 to the northsiders.
If a solitary-basket semi-final win over UL had taught Neptune anything, it was the art of not giving up in a hurry, and midway through the second quarter they made it a two-point game when Ger Noonan drove to the basket for the two-pointer.
Nevertheless, Killester edged back into the driving seat and by half-time had established an 11-point lead thanks to scores from Turner, Paddy Kelly and a massive three from John Behan.
But Neptune again found the reserves to claw a way back. Gary Walsh hit a three-pointer to rouse the blue end of the court and then Kieran O'Brien started to work his magic in a monumental display for the Rebels.
The Cork outfit finally reeled in their opponents when O'Brien ran the length of the court for a leveller.
After Westbrooks had knocked in the crucial points from the free-throw-line, Neptune's Phil Taylor lay flat on his back at the final hooter as his last-ditch effort for a saving grace hit the rim. It just about summed up the exertion left out on the court at the end of an enthralling contest.
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