Colbert inspires Demons to seal glory
UCC Demons 82 Dublin Inter 64
Lehmon Colbert provided the inspiration for C & S UCC Demons at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght last night, as his personal tally of 21 points powered the Munster side towards their first title in five years at the expense of an overwhelmed Dublin Inter side in front of a sold-out crowd.
The amateur outfit from Palmerstown were rank outsiders heading into this decider, but thanks to a three-pointer from Aurimas Statkus, and a Remigijus Dimiciukas double, they led 5-2 inside the opening 90 seconds. UCC settled into their stride with the help of six points by US native Colbert, and although Giedrius Tamusasuskas secured a magnificent three-pointer for the Dubliners, a similar effort for Demons from player-coach Colin O'Reilly restored the Cork men's slender cushion.
Inter (who have a strong Lithaunian contingent in their squad) continued to rise to the occasion with eye-catching scores by Trakauskas (another three-pointer), Mindaugas Tamusauskas, Statkus and Laimonas Jonaitis, but UCC finished the opening period with a flourish, as Colin O'Reilly, his brother Niall and Colbert all shot successfully to give their side a 23-19 platform.
With Ciaran O'Sullivan chipping in with five points, and the evergreen Colin O'Reilly grabbing a double, Demons were always threatening to pull away and despite being briefly troubled by further Inter three-pointers from Trakauskas and Remigijus Dimiciukas, another six-point salvo by Colbert, alongside four from the lively Kyle Hosford, helped the 2009 champions to a 49-40 interval lead.
Further braces by Colin O'Reilly and Colbert, either side of a Trakauskas three-pointer, kept UCC in the driving seat at the start of the third period, and just five minutes after the restart, five points from Ciaran O'Sullivan opened up a 14-point gap between the teams.
There was some respite for the southsiders in the form of doubles for Jonaitis and Romas Eidukas, but a comfortable 66-48 cushion meant that UCC were primed for victory with 10 minutes remaining.
Inter (who overcame last year's finalists UL Eagles and Bord Gais Neptune en route to the final) displayed tremendous character to reduce their deficit to 14 with scores from Tamusauskas and Eidukas, but the superior fitness levels of UCC were paying dividends.
A five-point haul by the exceptional Ciaran O'Sullivan, along with doubles captain Shane Coughlan and Christian Anon, left UCC with an unassailable 21-point cushion, and when Daniel O'Sullivan added a double in the final minute, UCC were able to ease over the line.
Scorers – C & S UCC Demons: L Colbert 21, C O'Sullivan 14, K Hosford 12, C O'Reilly 10, N O'Reilly 9, C Anon 6, S Coughlan 5, A O'Sullivan 3, D O'Sullivan 2. Dublin Inter: M Tamusauskus 17, R Dimiciukas 13, G Trakauskas 12, A Statkus, L Jonaitis 7 each, R Eidukas 4, M Landos 2, L Glennon 2.
C & S UCC DEMONS – C Anon, K Hosford, B O'Neill, C O'Sullivan, S Coughlan, D O'Sullivan, M O'Leary, N O'Reilly, L Colbert, A O'Sullivan, C O'Reilly.
DUBLIN INTER – S Aiden, M Cepliauskas, A Dimiciukas, A Statkus, K Harrington, R Barry, R Eidukas, G Trakauskas, M Tamusauskus, L Glennon, M Landos, R Dimiciukas, L Jonaitis.
REFS – M Nazimek, P Dempsey, M Thornhill