ST MALACHY'S COLLEGE 47 PRESENTATION BRAY 37
St Malachy's College showed they had staying power as they overcame a resilient Presentation Bray side last Thursday.
Malachy's had stormed into an eight-point lead in Bray with internationals Adam Ryan and Odhran Eastwood leading the charge for the Belfast boys.
Bray had a couple of good opportunities to eat into the St Malachy's lead but some silly turnovers cost them dearly with Malachy's holding a commanding 16-1 lead at the end of the quarter.
Bray changed to a man-to-man defence for the second quarter with Dylan Terry making two successful drives to Malachy's basket.
Marcus Nolan's height was now causing problems for the St Malachy's defenders as he scored six points in the quarter to help Bray get back into the match.
Malachy's players were at this stage knocked back by the ferocity of the Pres Bray fightback, with second year players Robert Wilson and Colin Fitzpatrick providing a spark off the bench for the Bray team with Fitzpatrick converting a great score to cut the lead to nine points.
And with Shane Davidson and Terry punishing Malachy's from the free-throw line, Bray were back in contention by half-time, trailing 26-18.
At the start of the second half, some brilliant inside-outside play from Nolan and Davidson led to the latter nailing a three-point score to cut the St Malachy's lead to five points.
St Malachy's, however, hit back with a three-point shot at the other end but a basket by Conor Dowling off the fast break kept the pressure on.
Another vital score from Fitzpatrick from close range kept Pres Bray within a few baskets of their opponents and St Malachy's called a timeout.
Nolan then powered his way to the basket to leave the score at 34-27 to Malachy's heading into the final quarter.
And while Terry and Gavan Dowling both converted one-point free throws, Malachy's then began to pull away courtesy of some impressive offence rebounding and drives.
Although Terry's 14-point game total kept a tiring Bray side in contention, a big three-pointer from the visitors ultimately saw Malachy's over the line.
They now play Mercy Mounthawk in the last four in the new year.