Saints star at inaugural Dundrum showdown

by James Hendicott
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The inaugural Hula Hoops 3×3 Basketball Championship achieved its pre-tournament aim of engaging shoppers at the Dundrum Town Centre, presenting an enthralling, fast-paced, party-focused version of the game as some of Ireland’s best players took to the court in the open air at the shopping centre throughout Saturday.

Eight men’s and eight women’s teams, drawn from Basketball Ireland’s top league sides, took part in a fiery, frantic version of the game.

3×3 basketball is based around a half-court, ten minute contests, and a scoring system where a normal basket is worth a point, and a traditional ‘three pointer’ worth two.

DCU Saints overcame Moycullen in the men’s final, the last game of the day, by a score of 14-8, defeating reigning champions in the full version of the game, UCD Marian, along the way.

Martins Provizors, Graham Brannelly, Davidson and Conor Gilligan represented the Saints, and went undefeated through their five games.

They took a while to warm up, though, just beating the buzzer against Black Amber Templeogue in their opener as they scored in the very last second to take the win 18-17. They also overcame a strong Pyrobel Killester side.

“This event has been great. It was a big help to have the crowd here and it pushed us on a bit more in the end,” Provizors said afterward his side claimed the trophy.

The ladies’ tournament saw Glanmire end DCU Mercy’s winning day in the finale. Mercy were four for four heading into the final, having already seen off opponents Glanmire by 6-5 in one of the lowest scoring contests of the day early on.

Glanmire qualified second from their four team group, winning their other two games aside from the Mercy contest, and then beat Pyrobel Killester by a margin of 10-9 in a tight semifinal. They clearly learned from the experience.

Glanmire – represented by Grainne Dwyer, Casey Grace, Aine McKenna and Claire Rockall – overcame the Dublin side at the second and more important time of asking by 10-9 to take the title.

An estimated 9,000 people saw the 30 games take place over the course of the day. Basketball Ireland hope the initiative – which is expected to become a postseason regular – might help add to their growing number of active players in Ireland and raise awareness around the sport.

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