Templeogue in dreamland

by Karl Graham

TEMPLEOGUE showed their class under pressure as they defeated Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 96-93 at Oblate Hall at the weekend to secure the men’s Super League basketball title.
The Tralee team they got the better of had beaten Templeogue’s closest title rivals Griffith Swords Thunder the previous week, dealing them a killer blow that played a part in helping the southsiders to secure the title with a game in hand.
Swords racked up a big win over UCD Marian at the weekend but Templeogue’s victory, coupled with another impressive win away to Pyrobel Killester four days prior, was enough to see them land their first title.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said head coach Mark Keenan after the win. “We had to really dig deep after a slow start. Maybe it was the occasion, maybe a bit nervy, but once we got going the boys were absolutely amazing. We pulled that out of the fire.
“Our defence wasn’t up to scratch early on; they were beating us to the basket too easily and we were giving them wide open looks. We couldn’t make anything at the offensive end but we knew that would turn and we would start making shots. Our defense had to step up and it did.
“You’re going through it and you think ‘is this one getting away from me?’ And then we put in that effort and I’m just over the moon and a little bit speechless – it’s hard to take it in now.”
Tralee started the better and took a 31-17 point lead. Templeogue reduced their deficit to six points at half time, thanks in part to a fine second quarter performance by Lorcan Murphy.
The third and fourth quarters were tight affairs with both sides looking capable of taking the win.
In fact, it was all on the line up until the last minute when Mike Bonaparte soared through the air to land an exquisite offensive rebound before finishing the move to give Templeogue a three point lead.
A flurry of free throws for both sides saw Trae Pemberton reduce the deficit to leave the game finally poised at 94-93.
Up stepped Bonaparte once again as he kept his cool to land two frees and secure the game, and the title for his team – leaving his manager delighted with his contribution.
“That was a huge offensive rebound by Mike, and then to make the free was excellent,” said Keenan.
While Templeogue will be delighted to land the title with a game still to play, neutrals will likely be left ruing not having the opportunity to see the top two teams in the country at the moment play out a title decider in the final game of the league campaign when the new champions travel to Swords on Saturday.

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