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Basketball: Bray reach the summit

The celebrations may have been minimal but the achievement was mighty as the hard-working Pres Bray team reached the top of the summit with this terrific victory over Jerome Westbrooks' team at the National Arena on Tuesday.

This team has been on the road a long time and there is more ahead of them with the league play-offs to come next month.

In their three years as a team they have only been beaten just once, by Coláiste Choilm in the first year.

Since then they have met every challenge put in front of them and up against a very vocal Fintan's support, Bray did not buckle under the pressure.

And they were certainly tested early on with Irish U16 panelist Mikey Deegan landing some terrific scores under the Bray basket.

That play, combined with some solid blocking by Andrew Colfer, was to kept Bray at bay until captain Brendan O'Neill popped up with a trademark three-pointer to make it a one-point game.

O'Neill then showed his steely resolve to get in a terrific block as Fintan's attempted a lay-up under the basket.


But despite three points in the form of a basket and a one-point free throw from Fintan's man Dean Cregan, a steal from MVP Lorcan Murphy ensured a 20-16 half-time lead for Bray at the interval.

And although Fintan's landed early scores from Conor McCracken and Luke McGuinness, the big three of Andy Bartley, Murphy (both Irish U16s) and O'Neill increased Bray's lead to eight point as coach Westbrooks called a time-out for Fintan's.

And the response from the Sutton boys was good with scores from Dean Cregan and McCracken putting just a basket between the sides.

But any suggestion that Bray were starting to feel the pressure were soon dispelled as they went on a terrific scoring run through Murphy.

Murphy, as Bray's most potent inside man this season, came into his own at this stage, adding four terrific scores with O'Neill then scoring off an intercept to leave Bray 41-30 up heading into the final period.

The last quarter began with two cracking three-pointers from Gary Barron (Fintan's) and O'Neill, with Murphy continuing his terrific form with a fantastic solo run up the court to advance the score along to 48-38.

Another effort from Murphy after a time-out tightened Bray's stranglehold on the game but Fintan's were not done yet, with Deegan and Barron making it a seven-point game with 2.49 left.

But Andy Bartley's considerable presence on the back court ensured there would be no late show from Fintan's. Despite closing baskets from Dylan Kessie and Cregan, Bray held out to win.

SCORERS -- Presentation Bray: Lorcan Murphy 19, Brendan O'Neill 17, Andy Bartley 11. St Fintans High School: M Deegan 17, G Barron 10, D Creegan 8.

Presentation Bray: Brendan O Neill, Lorcan Murphy, David Mackin, Ben Curran, Nicky Casey, Andrew Barnes, James Messitt, Andy Bartley, Marc Lennon, Luke O'Gorman, Reece O' Callaghan, Ash O' Callaghan

St Fintans High School: Rory Kavanagh, Steven Conway, Mikey Deegan, Stephen Leonard, Gary Barron, Dylan Kessie, Karl McGovern, Luke McGuinness, Declan Mulligan, Conor McCracken, Dean Cregan, Andrew Colfer