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American Shawn Vanzant helps Belfast Star clip UL Eagles' wings

By David Kelly

Published 19/10/2015

Star man: Shawn Vanzant was in impressive form
Star man: Shawn Vanzant was in impressive form

Coach Neal McCotter had called on his side to show their true worth and Belfast Star delivered with their first All Ireland Premier League win of the season.

Away in Limerick to the UL Eagles, Belfast Star found themselves down by seven early on but then they clicked into gear and never looked back - dominating the fourth quarter to triumph 82-71.

It has become very evident that American Shawn Vanzant is having a major impact on the team, the point guard running the game with great authority as well as delivering at both ends of the court.

On Saturday night, Vanzant came up with 29 points, while Paddy McGaharan hit 19, Fergal Toner 14 and captain Keelan Cairns 16.

McCotter said: "There's no doubt that Shawn is living up to all expectations.

"The guys has played in an NCAA final in the States so we knew we were getting a top player and he really is showing us that.

"Not only is he giving us what we need from a top point guard but defensively he is immense as well - he's the full package and that's what we had hoped for when he signed him.

"He held their American to just 12 points," he explained.

"He really took it personally when we lost the first two games of the season, which is a good thing and that desire to win is rubbing off on the rest of the lads although they also knew, as the coaches did that we should not have allowed the first two games to slip away.

"We needed to be more ruthless, we needed more composure and that was the most impressive thing for me on Saturday night.

"We got into the same position we had in the first two games but instead of throwing it away, we held our composure and got the job done.

"From one to 10 I was very pleased with the contribution," he added.

"Keelan Cairns did a very good job in bringing others into the game.

"There was a lot of focus on Keelan from the Limerick defence and he handled it very well," he stated.

"Now we have a tough game against Killester this Saturday night at MCB and we want to go and get a winning run going," he said.

In the women's All Ireland Division One, the Ulster Rockets maintained their fine start to the season when they won away to the Marble City Hawks in Kilkenny, 58-40.

Maxol WIT Wildcats are up to third place in the women's Premier League after 76-69 win over Courtyard Liffey Celtics.

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