Warriors stun champions Templeogue on home court to set up a date with Demons
Basketball: Men's National Cup - Black Amber Templeogue 92 Garvey's Tralee Warriors 103
Garvey's Tralee Warriors stunned the reigning champions Black Amber Templeogue with a 103-92 win in absolutely pulsating and at times breathless National Cup first round clash at the Oblate Hall in Inchicore on Saturday night.
Having lost out to Swords Thunder and UCC Demons in the last two seasons, the Warriors were hopeful of a better run in this year's Cup competition. Against the odds, and with a performance of true grit, determination, disciplined defence and some outstanding shooting, the Warriors claimed a famous victory to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final showdown with UCC Demons in Tralee in early December.
In an outstanding first quarter both sides went toe to toe and score for score with Neil Randolph first on the board for the home side before Darragh O'Hanlon was in range early for the Warriors. Randolph followed up with another before Jordan Evans stormed into the contest with three scores in a row including a brilliant three pointer.
The elusive Lorcan Murphy took flight to hit three scores himself either side of Randolph's third to edge the home side ahead. Kieran Donaghy, Paul Dick and Dusan Bogdanovic all fired in and when Evans hit another from distance the visitors led by two. Templeogue hit back with Randolph twice in range but a big finish to the quarter saw Janis Dumburs convert from the line, Paul Dick lay up and a huge three from Fergal O'Sullivan saw the Warriors lead 27-24 at the end of the first.
Eoin Quigley doubled the Warriors lead early in the second and when Evans and Darren O'Sullivan added the visitors were suddenly seven up. Puff Summers, Murphy and Padraig Burke bridged the gap to the minimum before the Warriors set about an onslaught on the Templeogue basket and when Evans with two, Paul Dick and Dusan Bogdanovic all hit scores Quigley brought the lively Warriors fans to their feet with another three and Darragh O'Hanlon had them shouting louder when he laid up and added the extra to put the Tralee side 15 up. The flying Lorcan Murphy found some hang time to hit back to back scores but when Fergal O'Sullivan got two looks at the basket he fired in twice for threes and the Warriors headed to the long break with a potentially game winning lead of 55-39.
The home side set about cutting into the Warriors lead early in the third and last year's Player of the Year Dee Proby hit early scores including a three to edge the home side closer. O'Hanlon, Paul Dick, Quigley and Evans restored the Warriors half time advantage before O'Sullivan again hit nothing but net from distance to keep the visitors at arms length.
Evans followed O'Sullivan's lead before Puff Summers also struck from distance however the Warriors high tempo game paid dividends when turnovers saw Donaghy twice lay up before Quigley hit another fine score to see the Warriors lead 82-60 as the sides turned for home.
Templeogue are not Cup champions by chance and the red and white army launched a determined effort to claw their way back into the game after Eoin Quigley drilled another three early in the final quarter. Murphy, Killeen and the impressive Randolph with two cut the Warriors lead to a more manageable 15. But Bogdanovic, Quigley and two bank shot scores from Evans eased the Warriors nerves as they pushed back out to lead by 23.
However the champions weren't finished and it was momentarily one way traffic as Proby hit a three and a score under the board and the high flying Murphy fired in three scores in a row to put just 12 between the sides.
But Evans hit back-to-back score to restore the 16-point lead and bring up the 100-point mark for the Warriors.
With both hope and time running out for the cup champions they bravely and honourably gave second best to the Warriors who produced one of their best ever performances to secure their place in the Cup quarter-final.
They will now eagerly await the visit of UCC Demons over the first weekend in December at what will be a packed to the rafters Tralee Sports Complex.
Garvey's Tralee Warriors: Jordan Evans 31, Fergal O'Sullivan 17, Eoin Quigley 15
Black Amber Templeogue: Lorcan Murphy 25, Neil Randolph 23, Dee Proby 20
Next up for Garvey's Tralee Warriors is another road trip to the IWA in Clontarf next Saturday night where they take on Pyrobel Killester at 8pm.