Latrell roars for Lions

by Karl Graham

DUBLIN Lions secured two victories in the space of just three days to give their men’s Division 1 league campaign a much-needed injection of life.
The Lions had only won one of their previous 11 league games and were rooted to the bottom of Division 1B. However, the two victories see them finish 2017 strongly and rise two places in the league.
The first of the two wins came at the expense of Carlow IT at Colaiste Bride, when the Lions scored a 98-92 victory over their in-form opponents.
Latrell Wilson, making his home debut, was in fine form for the Lions, finishing the game with 30 points as both sides started by looking to press the other.
The opening period was a scrappy affair with little in way of quality on show. Wilson, however, was on fire from the off and knocked down multiple threes, while also showing his vast range of passing ability.
The referee had a busy first half, calling a number of fouls for technical and unsportsmanlike fouls. Tomasz Swiatowy was fouled out for the Lions while Carlow’s Jimmy Gordon was also given his marching orders.
The Lions held a slender 55-49 lead at the half-time interval but enjoyed a stellar third quarter. Muhamed Sabic hit 21 points, and Igor Markiewicz produced an excellent 17 rebounds to keep the home side’s noses in front.
Next up for the Lions was a trip west to take on the EJ Sligo All-Stars in a bottom of the table clash. Wilson sat out this game but Sabic was on hand to score a game-high of 24 points, as the Lions returned home with the three points in the bag thanks to a 96-76 victory.
The Lions again looked to press their opponents, and managed to take the first quarter, stealing a couple of balls and netting some quick points.
Sligo looked to dominate the basket at both ends, but the visitors consistently hit shots through Swiatowy and Markiewicz – scoring 16 and 22 points respectively.
The hosts looked to hit back in the third quarter but they were thwarted in their attempts by picking up a couple of technicals. The Lions kept their cool throughout the quarter, managing to maintain their lead and eventually winning by a 20-point margin.
The Lions would have hoped things would go better for them over the first half of the season, but they can take comfort from their strong finish, and can look to build on their wins when the second half gets underway next year.
They also have an NICC men’s cup final against Cork side Blue Demons to look forward to in 2018.

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