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Star Cup hopes will hinge on a top defensive display

By David Kelly

Published 04/12/2015

On the ball: Keelan Cairns will have a crucial role in Belfast Star’s bid to topple Killester in Dublintried
On the ball: Keelan Cairns will have a crucial role in Belfast Star’s bid to topple Killester in Dublintried

Former Belfast Star ace Paul Dick will be bidding to knock them out of the National Cup tomorrow night when he lines out for Killester in the second leg quarter-final clash in Dublin.

Star had tried to re-sign Dick after his move from Germany to Spain fell through due to injury, but instead Killester managed to seal his signature and last weekend the sharp shooter had his first game for the Dubliners.

Now Dick will be hoping to play a key role in helping Killester overturn a 12-point Star advantage from the first leg of the quarter-final in Belfast three weeks ago when Star produced their best performance of the season so far.

Star backed up that first leg Cup win with a victory in the league and will be confident of completing an upset to secure their first semi-final in a decade.

Star coach Neal McCotter knows what to expect from classy Dick, who was voted the player of the year in Germany's second division.

"A fully fit Paul Dick is the best Irish player in the country - that's how highly I rate him. We tried to sign him in the summer and it was disappointing when he went to Killester because we know how good he is," said McCotter, who is not taking Star's 12-point advantage for granted.

"I don't think Paul is fully fit but he is clearly getting back to full fitness so of course he will be a threat but we know what to expect from Paul and how he likes to play. He will be one guy we'll be looking to stop but Killester are a quality side so it's not all about Paul."

McCotter believes that if Star are to make the semi-finals, then the basis for victory will be a tough defensive display.

He added: "Defence is the key to victory. Of course it's a team effort but I would say that the defensive performances of Keelan Cairns, Shawn Vanzant and Paddy McGaharan will be crucial.

"If we can get the defence right and take our chances then we do it and to make the semis would be a huge boost for the club and Ulster basketball."

Belfast Telegraph

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