Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Basketball: O'neill knows star have to bounce back in style

Darren O'Neill was left fuming by the weekend 109-79 defeat away to Demons in Cork in the All Ireland Superleague.

The Belfast Star boss was rocked by the magnitude of the loss and expects his men show real character and bounce back with victory at home to Killester.

"You don't expect to win every game during the season but the way we lost was very poor," said O'Neill.

"You could possibly point to the five hour journey to Cork but I don't accept excuses like that. We have to improve defensively and quickly.

"Now we have Killester at home this weekend and I want the lads to show their character and come back with a win.

"And that's not going to be easy because they have two very good Americans - arguably the best in the country."

Star went down before a huge crowd in the Mardyke Arena in their second game of the season.

The first quarter began with each team slow out of the blocks but Demons had Terrance Todd running the floor well for the home team and American Bobby Kelly was keeping Star in the game, scoring eight of their opening 12 points and he would eventually go on to hit 22 in the first half.

O'Neill said: "Because Ciaran McVeigh wasn't having a great game I had to move Bobby to the point in the second half and he could only add seven to his tally but again that was only a small factor in a 30-point defeat."

The first quarter ended with the Demons in a 20-12 lead.

The second quarter saw a increase of tempo as baskets came thick and fast from Levi Levine & Colin Reilly for Demons while Kelly remained the main threat for Star.

Nick Michaels also started to fire and he hit a basket before the break to reduce the gap to five at half-time, Demons leading 48-43.

The half time team talk from UCC Demons coach Matt Chlebek certainly seemed to work as they outscored Star by 29pts to 7pts with the majority of the scores coming from Todd, Alex Zimnickas & Colin Reilly.

Kelly was scoreless and Star looked toothless in the third quarter.

"We hit a wall in third quarter and the game was all but over even though we tried hard to get back into the game in the final quarter," added O'Neill.

Niall Murphy was in great defensive form for Demons as they went ahead 77-50 at the end of third quarter.

In the fourth quarter Star tried in vain to bridge the gap but with Demons playing solid defense and getting quick scores in succession from Carlton Cuff, Levi Levine & Colin O' Reilly the game was all but killed off with about five minutes remaining.

Now Star have Killester and a win is vital as they are in the same Northern Conference.

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