Friday 23 March 2018

Basketball: UCC Demons wary of Star's explosive mix

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

It's quarter-final weekend in the Superleague and, having snuck into the play-offs with a late surge, Belfast Star are hoping to take full advantage on Sunday against UCC Demons.

The matches between the sides have been close this season and it took a last-minute three-pointer from Demons' Ciaran O'Sullivan to claim the points in October.

Home advantage will stand to the Corkmen but, with the likes of top average points scorer Clayton Longmire and Scott Summersgill, Star have plenty in their armoury to upset the higher-ranked Leesiders.

"I said after we played Star in Belfast that they were going to make noise and they certainly have by making the play-offs," Demons coach Paul Kelleher said.

"Star are a very accomplished and well-coached team that have a good mixture of youth and experience. Scott Summersgill and Clayton Longmire are explosive scorers and in recent weeks their younger players have contributed heavily in their success so far.

"Any team that can defeat Killester on their own patch twice has certain qualities and it is up to us to try and negate them."

In the second quarter-final, DCU Saints, who have eight league wins out of nine since the turn of the year, are without Mark Nagle and Mike Lacey for the visit of Neptune, but Eoin Quill and Eanna Rutherford are back in action.

Saints' one-point win over the Corkmen on the final day of the regular season showed that the visitors are not going to roll over, and the fact that DCU were 20 points up at half-time shows that Neptune don't give up; the Saints lost to Sunday's opponents in December.

"Neptune will be very tough and they showed in the second half on Sunday what they're capable of with a lot of guys stepping up," said Saints star Emmett Donnelly.

"However, there is a great strength of character and belief within our squad so if we can bring that into the quarter-finals then we'll give ourselves a fantastic chance to make the semis."

Irish Independent

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