Belfast Star's young side produced another very encouraging performance but still went down to All-Ireland Premier League title favourites Demons 95-72 at the weekend.
Led by an inspired Colin O'Reilly, Demons' player/coach, the Cork outfit chalked up a staggering 40 first quarter points – 21 of them courtesy of O'Reilly.
Credit to Star, they fought back very well in the second quarter, slamming home 25 points with Spaniard Dustin Moreira in fine form for the Belfast men.
Trailing only 52-46 at half-time, Star fought hard to stay in contention but with five minutes remaining Demons had opened up a decisive 80-66 lead.
"It was a nice win against very tough opponents," said Demons player/coach O'Reilly.
"Neither side played defence in the first half but fortunately we were able to find a nice defensive line up in the second half to push out to a 20 point win."
Despite the defeat, Star remain in sixth place, just a point behind DCU Saints and three behind fourth-placed Eagles as they seek to sneak into the coveted top four play-offs.
Dubliners Marian did the Belfast side a big favour when they pulled off a shock 84-73 victory over play-offs rivals Saints, while the Eagles kept their advantage in fourth place with a 91-79 win over Neptune.
Star coach Adrian Fulton remains hopeful that his men can edge into fourth place though time is against them as games start to run out in the regular season.
Fulton said: "The scoreline against the Demons doesn't tell the story at all – we pushed them very hard throughout the game but we have to face up to the fact that we had 23 turnovers and that is just far too much.
"The amount of points we missed out on because of those mistakes and then the points they got because of them really hurt us.
"So we have lessons to learn but with three games to go we can still make the top four."