Preview: Enda Walshe
The top of the Men’s Basketball League Southern Conference resembles Times Square as only two wins separate five sides.
Limerick Celtics and SETU Carlow lead the way but Scott’s Lakers, Waterford Vikings and Limerick Sport Eagles are all in hot pursuit with six rounds to play.
The Lakers entertain the Vikings this afternoon with further home games against Team NorthWest, Killarney Cougars and SETU Carlow. They travel to Knocknacarra to play the Titans and Limerick to try to down the Eagles.
Looking ahead, a near perfect finish will be required to get that play-off spot but as has been the case all season, the Lakers are capable of beating anyone.
Beating the Vikings last time out was something that eluded the Lakers. On that occasion they travelled to the SETU Arena a little light handed and came away empty handed.
It’s a game that certainly grates with coach Brian Clarke as he lined out amongst the seven Lakers players that found itself 28-7 down at the end of the first quarter. To their credit, they held sway in the other three quarters before eventually going down 98-86. It’s a game the players will be keen to atone for.
The Vikings, though, are a much improved side this season. The Kavanaghs, Jay and Dale, are linchpins of Waterford Basketball for a long time while Osilma Oshiogwemoh, Denis Miculescu and Daniel Sheehan are noteworthy teammates.
New Jersey native Joyner averages just under 26 points per game while Jack Ryan is a sharpshooter from three-point land. They come with great momentum having won four of their last five outings.
Leondre Washington has certainly grabbed the scoring headlines for the Lakers since his arrival following the injury to Terion Moss, his 42 points per game average most definitely eye-catching. His new teammates are starting to understand his game as he is a different type of player to Moss, with promising signs last weekend in Limerick.
Braden Bell is, of course, one of the best players in the league and the combination between these two players is crucial.
What is noticeable in all the Lakers wins has been the contribution of the home-grown players. Eoin Carroll, Mark Sheehan, Jamie O’Sullivan and Paul Clarke have all hit the highlights in various games and this is a trend that needs to be repeated going forward.
Rui Saravia brings with him a huge work rate and intensity, something Oisin Spring has brought to the table this year also.
One of the features of the Killarney derby success for the Lakers was the match-up between opposing Americans. This game bears all the hallmarks of something similar so it could well come down to one of the local lads to decide this crucial showdown.
Tip-off in the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre this Saturday is at the earlier time of 4.00pm.
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