Blackstone unsettle League Champions
THE BLACKSTONE Premier team suffered a second defeat of the season to Dungannon Cavaliers on Sunday night at St Patrick’s losing 65-62.
The Ulster Premier League game was a gruelling contest against last year’s league winners and saw the Blackstone lead from the start and then lose in the last quarter.
The opening half was fast and furious as the Blackstone played a strong breaking game that left the visitors cold. The Blackstone defence was in the half court and upset the offensive driving game of the Cavaliers.
Inside the Key Michael Murray and Sasha Prymus had to be aggressive as Cavaliers were big and particularly physical on the rebound. Murray had an impressive game on the key shooting 12 points from close range in the opening ten minutes; he even stepped out for a three pointer.
The visitors were getting some shots off from distance but they were contested as the Blackstone defence worked very hard to shut down any opportunities. Macikas and Bastakas was the main threat for Dungannon with their power in the key. Bastakas stepped in and powered his was up for 6 points off the reboundas the Blackstone struggled to contain him.
Geovilas, a lanky three point shooter was always probing the perimeter for a three pointer but managed only one because of the constant defensive pressure of the home team.
The quarter ended with the Blackstone in front 22 – 16 and controlling the game at both ends. This was not the game the champions had anticipated.
In the second quarter the momentum was maintained.
Blackstone forward Filipowski showed great strength on the low post winning two rebounds and shooting high over his man for 4 points. Hillis and McDonald combined with a series of raids on the wings to push the Blackstone ahead by 4 as Geovilas shot from the perimeter for 8 points .
The Blackstone stepped up a gear at this point and their defensive pressure forced errors giving them the opportunity to open a 44 – 34 lead at half time.
The Blackstone game took a dip in the third quarter as they ran out of drive in their attack. They struggled to put their offence together and only scored 9 points to the Cavaliers 13.
The lackadaisical offence was compensated by solid defence as they kept up the pressure on a Dungannon team but the visitors were gaining in confidence with the series of forced errors from the Blackstone offence gave the visitors too many shooting opportunities. The quarter closed with the home team still ahead by five, 53 – 48 .
The fourth quarter saw the Blackstone hold on for two minutes before the Cavaliers began to dominate the key. They were making shots but on the missed shots they were picking up many rebounds that brought them in for scores or fouls against the Blackstone centre. Too often the Cavaliers got in back door cuts from the weak side and this created lots of problems for the defence and subsequently easy scores for the visitors They went ahead as the powerful Bastakas was unstoppable in the centre for 4 points and a 57 – 58 lead. The Blackstone was struggling to get shots away and forced their game shooting too many under pressure. Poor offensive shapes and passing caused turn overs. Down came Geovilas for 6 points on the trot from two lay ups and a jump shot in the key. With the score at 57 – 64 the Blackstone went to their press and turned the ball. Hillis went to score two points on a drive and shoot one from the free throw line to make it a 4 point game at 60 – 64. The Blackstone turned the ball again and Murray shot to draw the foul. He scored one from the free throw line but the Cavaliers did the same at the other end. With seconds left Martin McDonald came off a screen to shoot a three that hit the ring as the buzzer went.
ULSTER MEN’S DIVISION 2
Magherafelt Titans 47, Blackstone 51: Blackstone seconds claimed their second victory in the league travelling to Magherafelt last Friday night. The opening quarter saw some fluid basketball from the visitors against the Magherafelt zone and point guard Michael McDonald shot himself 10 points in the opening phase.
The burly guard had an eye for the basket from the tip and spotted up with a series of long range scores to dampen the threat from the home team. Inside plays from the returning Keith Miskella gave him a ly up and one from the free throw line.
A three pointer from last week’s top scorer Barry McCormick set out the pattern for the first half. Their energetic defence was putting the young Magherafelt team under enough pressure to force errors that brought them just 8 points to the Blackstone 18.
Coach McGarry shuffled his team in the second phase and baskets came on the run for Dean Hillis. He complimented McDonalds 10 points with 10 of his own. The mercurial guard is fast on the break and caused all sorts of problems for Magherafelt who maintained their composure with scores from Wilson. They trailed at half time by 18 – 33 and the Blackstone looked to have the game well in control.
The Titans took the initiative from this point on and ran in a series of scores through their inside plays. They closed the gap in third quarter to 29 - 33 as the Blackstone crumbled in offence only managing 5. There was so much indecision and lack of cohesion from the visiting team that looked to be comfortable in their game in the opening half. Magherafelt grabbed the opportunity and had the momentum going into the fourth.
Titans took the lead by 4 points in the opening phase before the Blackstone settled their offence. Coach McGarry went to experience on the floor and this produced the goods. John McAuley scored twice on the turn in the key. He levelled the game at 42 -42 and Dean Hillis made a lay up and then went to the free throw line to shoot one more and put the Blackstone back on top. Michael McIlvenna and Barry McCormick sealed the game with three pointers to steal the victory 47- 51.
This week the Blackstone 2 are at home on Thursday night to Limavady, tip off 8.15 pm and Blackstone 1 travel on Saturday to play Andersonstown at La Salle tip off at 4.30pm.
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Weather for Antrim
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North west