Belfast Telegraph

Dramatic conclusion sees Star fall

By David Kelly

It will go down as one of the most exhilarating games seen in Belfast for some time but Danny Fulton’s men still came off on the wrong side of a 99-96 scoreline against Neptune on Saturday night.

Having recorded only one victory in the Nivea Superleague this season, Star have found some great form since the arrival of American Josh Johnston and could have notched their second win only for some sloppy errors in the closing stages.

Ahead by a point with 24 seconds remaining, they should have been able to run down the clock but instead turned the ball over and gave away a foul to hand the Cork men a second win in three weeks in Belfast — having dumped Star out of the Cup.

Statistics can be made to reflect many views but the scorelines from each quarter reflect just what a rollercoaster clash this was. Star led 31-18 after the first, lost the second 29-15, won the third 28-18 and lost the final quarter 34-22.

Johnston was simply outstanding for Star, claiming 35 points, while Irishman Ger Noonan hit 36 for Neptune.

Star coach Danny Fulton said: “In all my years in basketball I can’t recall a national league game quite like that one on Saturday night.

“Talk about swings in fortune, no wonder the Neptune coach said they didn’t play any defence in the first quarter and we didn’t play any in the third.

“We had a big crowd watching the game and for them it was a great spectacle.

“There was some great plays and great individual performances but it wasn’t the result we wanted — we have played at a completely different level over the past four weeks but just haven’t been able to cross the line.

“Credit to Neptune, they fought very hard and it could have gone either way.

“But when you keep their American to 21 points you really expect to win the game — but Noonan was excellent. Neither he or Josh deserved to be on the losing side.

“It was tough on Scotty (Summersgill) because he played well and it would have been nice for him to celebrate his birthday with a win.”

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