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Star manage to beat the drop and O'Neill sees brighter future

Basketball

By David Kelly

Belfast Star completed their survival mission in the All Ireland Superleague even though they went down 60-57 at home to KUBS on Saturday night.

In a sense the game was a microcosm of Star's season as their defence was once again as mean as some of the best in the league but offensively they were at the other extreme, missing numerous opportunities, half of which would have put their opponents to the sword.

But, having beaten KUBS earlier in the season by a bigger margin than Saturday's three-point defeat it means they cannot be caught, leaving them fourth from bottom with just next weekend's game against Demons in Cork left.

American Ryan Wilson picked up 20 points for Star, while Paddy McGaharan had 18 but the next highest scorer was young Sean Quinn on 18.

Star coach Darren O'Neill is already looking ahead to next season, believing - despite their struggles during this year's campaign - that the future can look a lot brighter.

"I'm delighted we've retained our Superleague status, that was obviously very important and now we have to look forward and make plans to see how we can improve," said O'Neill. "The stats show that we are the third best side in the Superleague defensively so that is the big positive and something we can build on. Offensively we have to sort ourselves out and we will."

One plus point for O'Neill was the performance of teenager Quinn, who was handed his first start in the Superleague and gave a very good account of himself.

Meanwhile, Dubliners Templeogue are celebrating their first season All Ireland Superleague success, clinching the title with a 96-93 victory over Tralee Warriors.

Belfast Telegraph

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