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Debutant Jallow and Quinn Star in defeat

 

Last-gasp: Aidan Quinn scored 17 points but Belfast Star surrendered a nine-point lead
Last-gasp: Aidan Quinn scored 17 points but Belfast Star surrendered a nine-point lead
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Belfast Star threw away a golden opportunity for a crucial away victory to Neptune in Cork on Saturday night after one of the games of the season so far in the All Ireland Superleague.

Despite not travelling with classy American Ben Marello and defensive ace Liam Pettigrew Star had a nine-point lead going into the final quarter but allowed it to slip away as the Cork men, inspired by Lehmon Colbert and Kyle Hosford, turned the game around to triumph 89-84.

Going into the clash as co-leaders, Star now lie fourth behind the top three - all on 21 points - Neptune, Tralee and Eanna who they meet this Saturday night in the National Cup quarter-finals.

American Delaney Blaylock returned to the Star side but he was clearly rusty after four weeks on the sidelines due to injury, while it was revealed that Star's point guard CJ Fulton was struggling badly with a cold. Blaylock, Fulton and Keelan Cairns all suffered three turnovers each.

Though, with a minute left on the clock, CJ almost tied up the game at 87 only for his three-point attempt to squirm out of the basket and Cairns also failed to land a three as he clock ticked down.

Star boss Adrian Fulton, could nevertheless take positives from his side's performance and in particular the debut of David Jallow and a 17-point game from Aidan Quinn.

"David gave a good defensive performance and that's what I had hoped to get from him so I can see how he is going to be very effective for us going forward," said Fulton.

"I had a lot of people telling me that it was a great game and I can understand how it must have been entertaining but for me it just frustrating because we did have the game in our hands.

"But credit to Neptune because they showed why they're at the top of the league and they took their opportunities in the fourth quarter and we didn't - and we have to accept we had too many turnovers."

Fulton must now prepare his men for this Saturday's exciting duel with Eanna for a place in the semi-finals of the Cup and it is is a game he is relishing.

The Star chief is optimistic that American Marello will be fit for the clash, while aso expecting the return of Pettigrew to a bench that could be the strongest he has had all season.

"The main thing for me now is to make sure that my players are fresh and healthy for the Cup quarter-final," added Fulton.

"Normally we train on a Monday night but I'm going to give them the night off to help them to recover, while Delaney will have a training session with my dad just to help sharpen him up for Eanna.

"We're going to have a great crowd in La Salle for this one. The Cup games are always special and we will need to be at our best to beat Eanna."

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