Spirited late fight back from Swords Thunder falls short
Basketball, Men's Super League, Swords Thunder 81 Killester 86
A late fightback from Swords Thunder fell just short as Killester wrestled back momentum late in the fourth quarter to seal a win on the first weekend of the new Super League basketball season.
Dave Baker's side were hoping to carry on the good form which saw them reclaim their Donie Greene Memorial Tournament the previous weekend, but a poor start to the game proved their undoing as they lost this local derby.
Having started the season slowly last year, coach Baker was determined to get his side's season up and running by winning their opening game against Killester at ALSAA on Saturday evening.
In an even first quarter both sides traded baskets early on, with Isaac Westbrooks and new signing Elijah Mays impressing early on for Thunder.
The lead changed hands on numerous occasions during the opening quarter until a late two-pointer from Mays made it 19-19 to ensure that the teams were level going into the second period of the match.
The second quarter saw Killester begin to take control of the match, with Royce Williams in particular causing the Thunder defence all kinds of trouble. Williams scored three baskets in quick succession to open up a 10-point lead for the visitors as half-time approached.
Swords responded with an excellent three-pointer from Mays, but it was Killester who put an exclamation mark on their first-half performance with three great scores to go in at the break with a commanding 50-37 lead.
Swords came out with all guns blazing during the third quarter and reduced the deficit to nine points thanks to a couple of free throws from Westbrooks. Swords also finished the third quarter very strongly and had Killester reeling as baskets from Westbrooks, Kevin Lacey and Mays ensured Baker's side were right back in contention, with the scoreboard now reading 60-59 in favour of the visitors. The siren sounded to end the end of that third quarter with Thunder striding of the court knowing they were right back in this match.
Swords continued that momentum early in the fourth and looked good for victory as Mays - who finished with an impressive tally of 30 points - scored his third three-pointer of the game to put his side 64-60 ahead.
Killester fought back, however, and with five minutes remaining they edged clear once again thanks to another big three-pointer from the excellent Williams.
With two minutes remaining Killester scored a crucial two-pointer to go five points clear once again and at that stage Swords' backs were really up against the wall.
They did manage to eat into the Killester lead once more and close to within two, but a late basket from Williams to take his personal total to 32, sealed an exciting victory for Killester who did just enough to claim the points.