Friday 19 April 2019

Florida import is key as Mays unlocks Moycullen

Swords Thunder 108 Moycullen 88

Paul Byrne

Griffith College bounced back impressively from the previous weekend's defeat to DCU Saints as they swept past Moycullen to climb up to third spot in the Men's Super League last Saturday.

Once again it was their American Elijah Mays who stole the show, with the Florida native scoring a huge 33-point haul against a beleaguered Moycullen defence. Mays has been in sensational form this season and is the current top scorer in the Super League.

With talisman Isaac Westbrooks out injured with damage to his ankle, Swords have needed some of their fringe players to step up and that was evident on Saturday evening as Adrian Fernandez and Antonio O'Dunuga impressed for Dave Baker's side.

This was Swords' fourth win in five matches and although they lie six points behind leaders Belfast Star they will not have given up hope of a title push. This was the second meeting in a month between these two sides, with Thunder coming out on top in a close game back in October when the sides met in Galway.

Mays was in fine form that afternoon, scoring 32 points, and he was up and running quickly on in ALSAA as Thunder took an early lead.

The home side continued to press home their advantage during the first quarter, with Fernandez, Mays and O'Dunuga looking dangerous for the hosts. As the buzzer sounded for the end of the opening quarter Baker's side had opened up a useful 30-22 lead, with Mays helping himself to nine points.

Moycullen rallied well in the second quarter and refused to let the gap open up too much, with John Tummon and Isaiah Harris-Winn causing the home defence some problems. A three-pointer from Dylan Cunningham reduced Swords' lead to just three points approaching half-time, but Mays responded in kind for the home side to ensure Thunder went in 52-46 ahead at the break.

The third quarter continued to be an end-to end-affair as Swords kept doing just enough to keep their noses in front. Both sides traded scores regularly in what was a very open game as the action ebbed and flowed in both directions.

Crucially, though, Swords finished the quarter well, scoring two unanswered baskets through Mays and Fernandez to stretch their lead out to 10 points with just the final quarter remaining.

The game was won during a devastating three-minute spell for Swords where they outscored Moycullen by 11 points to three. Mays brought his personal tally to 30 points to leave his side 90-72 in from with just seven minutes remaining.

Moycullen probably knew the game was up for them at this stage, but to their credit they kept attacking and were rewarded with a fine score from Tummon who reduced the deficit to seven points.

The home side are known as one of the fittest in the Super League and that was shown late on as they continued to pile on the misery for Moycullen with some late baskets to stretch the lead out to 20 points as the final buzzer sounded, with Mays completing another man-of-the-match performance.

It was far from being a one-man show, however, as Fernandez helped himself to 25 points and O'Dunuga 13, while for Moycllen Harris-Winn finished with 27 points, Tummon 22 and Cunningham 13.

Fingal Independent