Friday 22 February 2019

Title contenders in for the Kill

Basketball: Killester 79 Swords Thunder 63

Paul Byrne

Michael Westbrooks earned some brotherly bragging rights on Saturday evening as he helped Pyrobel Killester defeat sibling Isaac's Griffith College Swords Thunder side.

The brothers faced off against each other in the IWA Clontarf, with the victory moving the home side to joint first in the table alongside Templeogue. However, this latest defeat for Swords Thunder sees the Fingal side slide further down the table, with Dave Baker's side now languishing in eighth spot.

It proved a miserable December for Thunder who lost four matches on the trot against C&S Neptune, UCD Marian, Templeogue and now Pyrobel Killester.

Their chances of causing an upset were not helped by the fact that leading scorer Elijah Mays was unavailable for selection and that lack of cutting edge up front was highlighted by the fact that their highest scorer was Bobby Ahern with just 14 points.

Killester came into this match in fine form, with three wins on the bounce, and Brian O'Malley's side knew a win against Thunder would see them join Templeogue at the head of the table, so motivation was high for the home team.

The hosts began the game well, with Royce Williams, Paddy Sullivan and Alex Herreros causing the visitors' defence plenty of problems early on. Swords found themselves seven points down mid-way through the first period but then enjoyed a good spell, with baskets from Isaac Westbrooks, Ahern and Antonio Odunga getting them back to within a point as the first quarter drew to a close.

However, Killester had the final say of an entertaining opening quarter with a fine three from Herreros to put the hosts 21-16 clear as the first buzzer sounded.

Killester seemed to up the tempo in the second quarter and began to pull clear as Thunder struggled to contain Williams, Sullivan and Herreros. Three scores in succession sent the home side nine clear mid-way through the second quarter, and despite an excellent three-pointer from Odungu for the visitors the home side continued to ramp up the pressure. Baskets from Luis Garcia Hoyos, Herreros and Williams sent the home team into a commanding 51-33 lead as the buzzer for half-time sounded.

Swords threatened briefly to mount a comeback in the third quarter, with baskets from Westbrooks and Oisin Kerlin - both of whom finished the game with 11 points - and Ahern getting the deficit down to 12, but Killester fired back with a devastating three-minute spell when they scored four times without reply.

As the third quarter ended Swords found themselves 16 points down.

In fairness, the away side never gave up and opened the final quarter with an excellent score from the impressive Odunga, who would finish with 13 points, but each time they scored Killester responded immediately to ensure the double-digit gap was maintained.

Swords looked tired down the stretch as Killester began to play keep-ball to run down the clock.

Man of the match Herreros fittingly had the final say of the game with a great score to help seal an impressive victory for the hosts and move them to joint top of the Super League.

Fingal Independent