Belfast Telegraph

Marello making big impression on everyone at Star: Fulton

 

Ben Marello
Ben Marello
David Kelly

By David Kelly

American Ben Marello has hit the ground running for Belfast Star and an outstanding performance on Saturday night helped them to an 85-78 victory over Dublin side Marian in the All-Ireland Superleague.

Marello only arrived 10 days ago to replace injured Delaney Blaylock, but coach Adrian Fulton says he has immediately gelled with the Star men who showed mettle at La Salle College when it seemed the game could be turned on its head.

Star, largely through the exploits of Marello and CJ Fulton, had the game by the throat for three quarters and at one stage led by 15 but in the fourth quarter Barry Drumm and Matt Kelly inspired a fightback by the Dubliners, who found themselves within three points.

Star rallied and a three-pointer from Sean Quinn was a critical blow, while Liam Pettigrew slotted home a couple of important baskets along with 17-year-old sensation Fulton, who finished with 18.

Coach Fulton could not contain his delight at the way Marello has adapted to life in Belfast and made a major impact.

"He's a very coachable guy, he wants to learn and is willing to listen and do what is best for the team. As a coach you couldn't ask for more," said Fulton.

"He has come into the squad and made a big impression with everyone and clearly he sees this as a big opportunity for him to make an impact and enhance his reputation. He was very good against Marian - he's not only able to make good plays for others but create his own chances. He was able to take guys on and make things happen."

If Fulton was happy with Marello, then he also had to be delighted with his local men who are contributing right across the bench and he was also able to welcome back Conor Johnston after a long-term injury.

"Two years ago we would have lost this game but this is the sign of a maturing team. We should have been out of sight but got pegged back but then found the resolve to pull away and win and that's the character we need," added Fulton.

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