Belfast Telegraph

Stith's struggles highlight Belfast Star's need for more clinical attack

By David Kelly

American Dillon Stith picked the wrong time to have an off night as Belfast Star fell to defeat at the hands of All Ireland Premier League title challengers Templeogue.

Having started with 33 and 36 points in his first two games, Stith could only manage 16, while Keelan Cairns had a paltry nine as Star went down 81-57 to the Dubliners at MCB on Saturday.

The lack of a clinical offence has been the downfall of Star so far this season and coach Darren O'Neill seems at a loss as to how to turn it around - particularly in time for this weekend's second leg of the their National Cup quarter-final against Moycullen.

Star certainly made a positive start as they led 16-14 after the first quarter and only trailed 32-29 at the break, but O'Neill admitted that didn't tell the whole story and in the second half the Dubliners found an extra gear offensively and Star were stuck in neutral.

"Defensively we are ranked about third in the league but offensively we're at the bottom and that says a lot about where we are as a team. We just haven't been putting the ball in the basket enough. You couldn't win games at this level by scoring just 57 points," said O'Neill.

"Even in the first half when we defended very well there were too many missed chances - we should have been up by six or eight points at the break. At the end we only had two players in double figures, it's just not good enough. But, you either give up or work harder and we are going to work harder on our shooting,"

While O'Neill and his team can focus on sharpening up Star's offence, it does seem that many of the players need to start showing a greater desire to step up and prove themselves at this level rather than hiding away when the heat is turned up.

Now Star turn to their clash with Moycullen in the cup. O'Neill added: "It's a great opportunity to make the semi-finals for the first time in many years."

Belfast Telegraph

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