American Shon Briggs led Belfast Star to a stunning 81-70 victory over Northern Conference leaders Eanna on Saturday night in De La Salle College – sealing their place in the play-offs.
With just three games remaining of the regular season Star are now on a run of eight wins in nine starts and they haven’t lost since Briggs arrived at Christmas.
It is quite clear that experienced American – who top scored on 21 points – has had a huge impact on his new team-mates and confidence is sky-high as they seek to retain the All Ireland Superleague crown.
“We’re now in the position that we want to go and win the Conference. At Christmas I was worried about making the play-offs but now we know that if we win three games on the road then we top the conference and that would guarantee home advantage in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the play-offs if we made it to the last four,” said coach Adrian Fulton.
The Star boss was delighted with the impact of not just Briggs but also fellow American Austin Beech who hit the last eight points, including a highlight reel slam dunk to finish off arguably the best win of the season. It was just what the passionate Star fans craved I the final home game of the regular season.
Fulton added: “There’s no doubt that Shon has given us a new dimension. I knew at Christmas we had to try something different and Shon has been excellent. He’s someone who can play in many positions and do a very good job and that is a big plus for any team.
“He has a real energy and presence on the court and it’s rubbing off on the other players. He’s got a great attitude and is working very well with Austin. Credit to Austin because when he came off the bench with three minutes to go in place of Shon he was brilliant.
“It really was a very good all-round performance and yet I still believe there is more in our locker. We made too many turnovers, so that can improve and at the moment we’re the best team in the country defensively but the stats also say that we’re 10th out of 12 offensively so you can see we can make improvements.”
Star face Eanna in Dublin this Saturday night in a re-arranged fixture when assistant coach Conor Ryan will be in charge as Fulton is with the Irish senior side this week. Ireland are away to Switzerland on Thursday and at home to Cyprus on Sunday.