Basketball

subbedFROSTIES 92DUNGANNON 74TRALEE'S National League standard-bearers, Frosties Tigers, recorded another emphatic success in

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FROSTIES 92

DUNGANNON 74

TRALEE'S National League standard-bearers, Frosties Tigers, recorded another emphatic success in the Tralee Sports Complex on Saturday night and in the process kept their title winning aspirations very much alive.

At the end, 18 points separated the teams, in a contest which was always keenly contested but was from an early stage pointing in favour of the locals in view of the greater strength in depth of their squad and a much more potent scoring spread.

Dungannon, in contrast, depended almost exclusively on the prolific Jermaine Turner and while the game's top scorer made a significant contribution, he lacked support in offensive situations. Tigers were forced to line out without the injured John Teahan and coach David Falvey took the opportunity to afford young Aidan O'Shea a place in the starting line-up.

Tigers started rather tentatively and, with both Turner and Mason lively and inventive for the visitors, the northern side matched the locals score for score and stride for stride throughout the opening passages of play. Indeed Jermaine Turner's slam dunk, in the third minute, afforded Dungannon a marginal, if deserved one point lead (9-8).

Tigers based most of thei initialr strategy on an outside game and with all of their scoring power deployed on the fringes, it allowed Dungannon to exert a profound grip under their own board. For a period, Ricardo Leonard, moved into a deeper position and, as a result, became a lot more influential and productive.

Tigers led by a single basket (13-11) after six minutes and after Dungannon had briefly edged back in front (16-17), the locals, thanks to some super shooting from the game's MVP, Roscoe Patterson, led by four (21-17) at the end of the opening quarter. Patterson continued to shoot an extremely high percentage of his shots from long range and with Ricardo Leonard always capable of stepping up a gear, whenever the occasion demanded, Tigers maintained a scoring advantage. However, the input of the outstanding Jermaine Turner ensured that the visitors' challenge always remained extremely vibrant.

John Walsh, Kevin O'Donoghue and Wayne Quillinan all came off the bench as David Falvey rotated his squad without ever limiting in any way its overall effectiveness. With Leonard and Patterson between them contributing 35 points, Tigers led by ten (47-37) at the interval and consolidated their situation even further at the outset of the second half when Leonard's admirable approach play carved out scoring opportunities ‹ duly converted by both Vinny Murphy and Robbie Turner.

Talented teenager Daniel Boylan came off the bench and displayed some admirable vision and composure, as the locals strengthened their grip on proceedings and increased their lead to 17 points as the contest entered its final quarter. Cruising and in complete control, Tigers lost their momentum for a period as Dungannon, with Jermaine Turner continuing to spearhead their challenge, initiated a heart-warming revival.

With six minutes remaining, just 11 points (74-63) separated the teams and, indeed, Tigers had to dig deep for a period as the visitors laid siege to their board with a series of surging counter attacks. However, they failed with a number of gilt-edged opportunities in lay-up situations and a superb individual score from the extremely industrious Robbie Turner and an outstanding defensive block, almost immediately from the same player, afforded Tigers a timely boost and with three minutes remaining, their lead had once again been extended to 16 points (81-65).

Thereafter, it was a case of just playing out time and with Wayne Quillinan, off the bench, securing some good scores, Tigers sealed what was a fully deserved and comprehensive victory.

The following day, they made the long journey to Dublin to take on UCD Marian and despite a 33 point return from Ricardo Leonard, they lost out eventually on a 84-71 scoreline, in a game which was extremely delicately poised entering the final few minutes.

Despite this setback, Tigers, with games in hand, are still very much in the hunt for the championship title and if they win their backlog of games then they will be right up there with the leaders at the top of the league ladder. However, there are areas of their game which need to be addressed and I would think that team coach David Falvey is obviously aware of the need to improve their presence in rebounding situations, under both boards. Certainly Jermaine Turner's forceful play exposed deficiencies in this aspect of their play on Saturday in Tralee.

On this coming Saturday, in the Tralee Sports Complex, Tigers engage Gleneagle St Paul's from Killarney (tip-off at 7.45pm). It's a local derby which should attract a capacity crowd to the venue and is a contest which is sure to be keenly contested.

Consistency is the key to winning league titles and certainly Tigers will be hoping that it is the beginning of an unbroken series of victories for them as the season enters a crucial period.

Top scorers in the Frosties v Tyrone Towers game: J Turner (49); R Patterson (28); R Leonard (27); R Turner (23); JL Supervia (7); W Quillinan (5).

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