Fireworks as Lakers fight back to win

Scott’s Lakers 77
SETU Waterford Vikings 73
Report: Enda Walshe

All the excitement in this game was packed into the final quarter as Scott’s Lakers eventually overcame SETU Waterford Vikings, thereby overtaking them to move into the play-off positions.

The afternoon was a difficult one for Brian Clarke’s side who struggled on offence. Conversely, they did quite well on defence with Eoin Carroll, Rui Saravia and Paul Clarke pulling down 30 boards between them. Saravia was a diligent defensive presence all game, Clarke led the team on efficiency while Carroll can point to two huge rebounds in the final quarter that helped to quell the tide.

Braden Bell earned all of his 21 points as he had a real battle with Viking Idris Joyner while Leondre Washington’s 35 points was only bettered by Joyner.

Braden Bell earned all of his 21 points as he had a real battle with Viking Idrist

The win moves the Lakers on to eight wins and into the top four and provided they keep themselves ahead of the Waterford side in the weeks ahead, they will earn their place at the end of season play offs.

Coach Clarke was a happy man with the result if not the performance: “It’s a big win for us to push ahead of Waterford and we’ve three big games now against Team North West, Titans and Killarney Cougars in the weeks ahead. We have to keep pushing on and striving to improve.”

Vikings were 22-19 at the end of the first quarter but the gap was closed to two by half-time 36-34, with Jamie O’Sullivan having the last word for the Lakers.

The third quarter belonged to the Vikings with Joyner and Ryan, hitting threes and Denis Miculescu came off the bench to put them 46-40 clear. Bell who was closely guarded by Joyner all evening, Saravia, and Washington brought the sides level at 50 a piece with the quarter drawing to a close. But again Joyner stole in to put the Vikings in the box seat heading into the final period.

Leondre Washington top scored for the home side on 35

The Vikings looked to be turning their ship for home when they built up a 10-point lead, 73-63, with four minutes to go but then came the fireworks. Washington sank two free throws and as the defensive intensity went up ten-fold the Vikings were forced into numerous turnovers. Bell and Washington brought it down to a two-point game with 1.13 to go, a lead that was halved by Eoin Carroll from the charity stripe.

Bell then broke clear to put the Lakers in front for what felt like the first time in a lifetime, as the Vikings lost huge momentum, highlighted by both Daniel Sheehan and Jay Kavanagh being fouled out. Eoin Carroll pulled down a huge rebound, fed Washington who was fouled and he duly doubled the lead to two, with 12 seconds on the clock.

Eoin Carroll: The atmosphere when the game was in the fire was amazing

The Vikings launched one last raid to salvage the game but the ball was again turned over and Bell again raced clear to stuff home the ball, with a huge sense of relief in the process.

Leondre Washington top scored for the home side on 35, Braden Bell was next best on 21, Eoin Carroll had eight, Paul Clarke netted seven, Rui Saravia four and Jamie O’Sullivan two.

Idris Joyner was the game’s top point scorer with 36 points, Daniel Sheehan hit 12, Jack Ryan netted 11, Denis Miculescu si, Illia Prikhno four.

Post-game Leondre Washington praised the team’s defensive effort: “Rui did well defensively, Eoin got some big rebounds, Braden and Mark, everyone put in a shift. The coach got us riled up in the final quarter and put a lot of energy into us.”

Eoin Carroll also alluded to the role of the crowd: “The atmosphere when the game was in the fire was amazing and, hopefully, now we can push on from here in the three games we have at home”.

Team NorthWest are next on the agenda with the game tipping off at 7.30pm in the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre next Saturday evening.

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