Saturday 24 February 2018

Basketball: Turner helps ace Killester sweep board

Killester secured this year's men's title, sweeping aside the challenge of University of Limerick Eagles to complete the treble, adding to their regular season and National Cup triumphs.

University of Limerick had been this season's good-luck story. They started the season, in the words of coach Tony Heir "just hoping to get to the play-offs".

As the games rolled on and the crowds grew so did the expectation. But, despite losing out in the final, Heir and his team can look back on what could prove to be a key season in their bid to make progress for basketball in Limerick.

No such sentimentality surrounds Killester. Having long established themselves as the kingpins of Irish basketball the Dubliners, led by MVP Michael Westbrooks, outshone their southern conference counterparts in every area of the court.

The final started in manic fashion with Limerick leading after five minutes by 13-5. The Eagles were using their 6'11" centre Stuart Robbins to great effect and at one point it seemed as though it would be impossible for Killester to defend against the Welsh giant.

A Jermaine Turner slam dunk on the 8-minute mark signalled Killester's real emergence into the game. The Dublin side quickly built up a substantial lead through the free-scoring Pete Madsen and Turner that would see them lead the Eagles by 17 points at half-time.

As the game moved into the penultimate quarter baskets from Robbins and Rob Lynch provided some hope for Limerick but Killester were in no mood for letting up, and the slam dunk machine Turner never let the Killester advantage drop into the low teens.

Glen Wong struck a three-pointer on the buzzer but Limerick still faced a 14-point mountain to climb going into the deciding quarter.

Their task was made more difficult when their top scorer Stuart Robbins was fouled out by referee David Caballe, the former Bayern Munich man sent to the line for instigating a brawl with five minutes left.

Killester have now become only the fourth side to complete the Irish Men's basketball treble. Coach Mark Keenan put their success down to his players' unmatchable desire and intensity and a mean defence.

If he can keep this squad together it will be long odds in the bookies on them losing even one of their treble crowns.

Killester -- R Clarke, K Anderson, D Sealy, J Lambert, P Kelly, P Madsen, M Goj, M Westbrooks, A Casey, M Hennebry, J Turner.

UL Eagles -- R Slattery, G Wong, P O'Sullivan, S Kinnevane, N Campbell, R Lynch, A Dawson, M hall, S King, B Reidy, A Holden, S Robbins.

Irish Independent

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