Belfast Telegraph

Highs and lows as Star look to improve

By David Kelly

It was a case of the good, bad and ugly for Belfast Star at the Tayto International tournament over the weekend at the La Salle complex.

Ahead of their return to the All-Ireland league, when they host Cork side Neptune, Star gave glimpses of the quality they will be able to bring this season but equally assistant coach Adrian Fulton and new head coach Josep Maria Berracol could see plenty of room for improvement.

The Belfast side started the tournament in great fashion on Friday night when they shocked an American select side made up of professionals, winning 85-77. But after the high of such a win came the low 24 hours later as Star were thumped 70-49 by Dubliners Killester.

In their final game against Dublin Thunder – who boasted three Americans – Star gave a more impressive performance but still didn't manage to reach the heights of Friday night as they went down 61-51.

Considering the Belfast men only had American professional Frank Otis for 15 minutes of the match with the Thunder due to a knee injury, assistant coach Adrian Fulton was relatively happy with the overall effort of the youthful side.

"Probably the biggest plus from the weekend was the fact that after an MRI on his knee Frank was given the all-clear," said Fulton.

"Overall, it was a Jekyll and Hyde weekend because you wouldn't have believed that it was the same set of players who played on Friday night and beat the Americans and then lost to Killester.

"And very simply you have to take your chances. We got the same looks as we did in the match on Friday night but didn't convert. There were some very good things we did but also there were things that we just have to improve on."

University of Ulster Elks were bolstered by three Americans for the pre-season event which they won after defeating Killester 80-58 in the decisive match.

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