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McCotter's delight as Star make it a double

By David Kelly

Published 21/12/2015

Shining light: Neal McCotter was pleased with his side
Shining light: Neal McCotter was pleased with his side

Belfast Star coach Neal McCotter says he will enjoy his Christmas dinner even more than usual after his side finished the first half of the All-Ireland Premier League with back-to-back wins, taking them up to fourth place.

Due to the crazy fixture scheduling, McCotter's men had to play four games in the space of seven days but still managed to win three - their best period of the season so far, coming on the back of that horror defeat away to Killester in the National Cup.

Having beaten DCU Saints 78-75 in Dublin on Friday night, Star followed that up with an 80-74 victory over Swords Thunder 24 hours later.

While McCotter can point to everyone playing their part in the revival, there is no doubt that Liam Pettigrew and Marty McDonald have brought a zeal and potency to the court that has been crucial to Star giving themselves real hope of finishing in the top four come March.

"I really am going to enjoy Christmas because the lads have really turned themselves around and to be in the top four at this stage is very encouraging. But, to stay there we will have to work even harder in the second half," said McCotter.

"There have been very good contributions from everyone - our American Shawn Vanzant has shown the leadership that we need and Liam Pettigrew has just had the best week of his Superleague career. Liam always had the talent and it was just a matter of him showing it at Superleague level and now he is. He's only 20 so there is a lot more to come and Marty McDonald has been the surprise package of the season. When Marty came into the team I wasn't sure if he could handle the Superleague. I knew he had ability but it is a step up from Ulster league but he has delivered and has worked himself into a starting five spot."

Star return to action on January 2 away to Eanna and McCotter is desperate for the current momentum to continue.

"The Christmas break has arguably come at a bad time for us because we are on a roll and just want to play but we'll be ready for Eanna."

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