Bullish Blaylock fans the flames for a 'dog-fight' with Tralee as Star bid to bring down champions
American Delaney Blaylock has told Belfast Star's supporters to expect "a dog-fight" when the club clash with All Ireland Superleague champions Tralee at La Salle College on Saturday night.
The meeting between the top two teams in the league is the game of the season and one of the biggest the Belfast club has been involved in over the past 20 years.
Coach Adrian Fulton revived the club last year when he took them to the National Cup semi-finals and the end-of-season play-off decider but this clash with Tralee is right up there with Star just three points behind the champions at the midway point in the campaign.
Blaylock seemed to have returned to top form last weekend in the superb victory over Templeogue, having been out of action throughout November, but insists there is more to come.
"I really believe that I can go to a higher level even though I was pleased with how I played last week," said the 22-year-old.
"That win over Templeogue meant a lot to me but I could see how much more to those who have been at the club a lot longer and now we have this game with Tralee and it's going to be a dog-fight for sure.
"This is what I call a statement game - if we win it makes a big statement about how we can challenge for the title but even if we do win, we know that we have to treat every game after this with the same intensity.
"Tralee are very good at punishing teams from turnovers so we have to lock in our defence and make sure we cut out the mistakes."
Blaylock believes that 17-year-old point guard CJ Fulton will have a key role to play, just as he has done throughout the season.
Star's little gem has not only been offering up a plethora of assists but chipping in with crucial points as well.
Blaylock added: "CJ's basketball IQ is amazing - he plays well above his age and I've been very impressed with how he has played all season. There are not many 17-year-olds who can play point guard the way he does.
"Liam Pettigrew and Keelan Cairns have also given us a great contribution in defence and I just feel that as a team we have fixed a few things and we are playing at a very good level now.
"Now we have this big against Tralee and it's down to us to show how good we are."