A 34-POINT fourth quarter for Black Amber Templeogue saw them tee up an all-Dublin Hula Hoops National Cup final at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght later this month, as they stormed home to a 98-77 point win over UCC Demons.
Up until the end of the third quarter, the fate of this game was undecided, as a superb battle between the two sides throughout the opening three quarters saw Templeogue up by just two points (62-64) at the end of the third.
Captain fantastic Stephen James led the charge back in the fourth though and he, combined with three Luke Thompson three pointers and a triple-double from Mike Bonaparte, saw Templeogue on their way to Tallaght.
“We felt like we missed out last year, so we’re back where we belong now and we’re looking forward to it,” said James afterwards. “We have the ability to play the way we did in the fourth all the time, but we keep letting teams hang in there so we’ve a lot to work on now.”
A lively first quarter got this game off to a flying start, with Lehmon Colbert and Lorcan Murphy netting 13 points each at either end to keep the sides neck-in-neck.
Strong scoring from Luke Thompson of Templeogue and Stephen James gave the Dubliners the edge at the end of the first 24-28, but Demons were only getting started.
Colbert continued to dominate for Demons, with the speed and skill of Adrian O’Sullivan proving difficult for the Templeogue defence. However, Jason Killeen, Puff Summers and Murphy were on hand at the other end to keep the scores ticking in, and Templeogue held the lead by the bare minimum (41-42) at the half time break.
Both sides maintained the in quarter three, with Colbert, O’Sullivan and Colin O’Reilly giving an exhibition of shooting for Demons. Killeen kept the ship steady for Templeogue at the other end, but there was still no breathing room between the sides at the buzzer (62-64).
From there, it was all Templeogue. Thompson was on hand with a huge three-pointer and all of a sudden, a ten-point margin had opened up.
James kept the pressure on as Thompson added two more three-pointers and Bonaparte hit a triple-double to extend their lead even further and it was plain sailing from there on out.