American Mike Davis once again demonstrated why Belfast Star are so keen to see him return next year after an outstanding 39-point game high performance inspired a nailbiting victory over Killorglin at La Salle College on Saturday night.
Swashbuckling Davis hit a crucial three-pointer with a minute remaining to put Star 85-80 ahead before the Belfast man had to withstand a late onslaught. American Shaquille Dance, who was also very impressive, slotted home a basket to put Killorglin within a point but - having drawn the foul - he missed his free throw.
It was the nerve-wracking finish that the All Ireland Superleague clash deserved such was the intensity throughout with momentum swinging one way and then the next.
Star's 85-84 win means they need one more victory from this weekend's double header, away to Killester and at home to Demons to be certain of a place in the end of season top four Champions Trophy.
Star coach Adrian Fulton said: "We've already spoken to Mike about coming back next year but we are aware that this league is a shop window for players to progress to a higher professional level. One thing Mike has made clear is that he would be more than happy to stay with us because he has enjoyed his time with us.
"He's a great athlete and has a great attitude. Mike is certainly right up there with some of the best Americans we've had and as rookie seasons go as a professional he has been tremendous.
"The one thing I can't understand is how he has only had one player of the month award yet is averaging 30 points a game - I joked with him that he will have to start averaging 40 points.
"On Saturday night he was terrific, he carried the team offensively and hit some big baskets at crucial moments. We didn't play as well as we could but the lads dug deep and got the win and as somebody said to me afterwards, it's a game that we probably would have lost last year."
Tralee Warriors stunned leaders Templeogue, 88-77.
A late Templeogue run put the game back in the melting pot but scores from Ulsterman Paul Dick, Keith Jumper and Eoin Quigley steadied the ship to see the hosts home.