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Belfast Star are crushed by Killester in National Cup

By David Kelly

Published 07/12/2015

Falling short: Shawn Vanzant top scored for Belfast Star with 11 points
Falling short: Shawn Vanzant top scored for Belfast Star with 11 points

Coach Neal McCotter admits he has been left "devastated" by Belfast Star's crushing exit from the National Cup.

McCotter watched his players capitulate on Saturday night in Dublin in their quarter-final clash with Killester, going down 100-51 - the heaviest defeat in the history of the club.

Having led by 12 from the first leg in Belfast, Star were expected to push the Dubliners all the way and even pull off an upset win, but after four minutes they were down by 15 points and at the end of the first quarter trailed 27-7. Game over.

The manner of the defeat came as a huge shock to everyone as Star had enjoyed back-to-back victories before a week's break due to the fixture scheduling. Even in previous defeats in the All Ireland Premier League this season, Star had gone down with a fight, but this was total humiliation and Shawn Vanzant could only contribute 11 points.

Indeed, everyone associated with the defeat should be hanging their heads in shame and rather than wallowing in self pity, show some pride in the Star shirt when they return to league action this weekend.

In contrast to Star's insipid performance, Killester's veteran American Jermaine Turner gave a vintage, ruthless performance as he and his team-mates bullied the Belfast men into submission.

"It was a chastening experience, my worst ever day in basketball," said McCotter who admitted that he had ran out of ideas by the third quarter, such was the poor quality shown by his players. I've lost international matches, Cup finals but that was my worst day in 30-odd years in the sport as a player and coach. I just have no answers as to why the side played so badly.

"Once we got in a hole at the start of the first quarter, we just didn't seem able to get out of it. Credit to Killester they came on to the court and put it up to us, they played a high intensity defence and it worked and we just didn't come back at them.

"As the head coach I take full responsibility and we have to lift ourselves for three crucial league games before Christmas - they could define our season. I just hope that this is a freak result and we can move on from it because we know we are much better than this - after all we beat Killester by 12 just three weeks ago."

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