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Belfast Star's triumph boosts Top Four basketball play-off hopes

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High scorer: Ricky Taylor notched 29 of Star’s 89 points

High scorer: Ricky Taylor notched 29 of Star’s 89 points

High scorer: Ricky Taylor notched 29 of Star’s 89 points

Throughout the history of Belfast Star a strong defence has usually been the cornerstone of their success and yesterday the current crop of All Ireland Premier League players brought that to the fore in an impressive victory over Dublin Inter at MCB.

Star, who triumphed 89-77, shook off the disappointment of their defeat to Marian and gave themselves a ray of hope in their bid to make the end of season Top Four play-offs.

Defeats suffered by Killester and Templeogue, who they face in the next fortnight has certainly bolstered that belief.

While American Ricky Taylor stood out with his 29-point contribution, along with seven rebounds, others weighed in with significant points.

Fergal Toner notched 11, Paddy McGaharan 10, Brian McCotter eight and Keelan Cairns four and all showed real steel in defence to snuff any chance of Inter turning the game their way.

Cairns, who had seven rebounds, stood up well to the physicality of the Dubliners, while McGaharan, Liam Pettigrew and Iheuk Duru all had three crucial rebounds.

Star's assistant coaches Danny Fulton and Javan Dupree had to step up to lead the team at short notice as head coach Neal McCotter was called away on business, having prepared the team all week.

"Danny and JF did a great job, we had worked the guys very hard on Friday night and they did the business when it came to match time," said McCotter.

"With Killester and in particular Templeogue losing their games at the weekend we have given ourselves a glimmer of a chance to make the play-offs.

"We are away to Killester next week which is going to be a very tough game, but they are clearly beatable.

"After that we have Templeogue at home which, in football terms, will be seen as a six-pointer."

Belfast Telegraph