Belfast Telegraph

Struggling Star get shredded by Swords

By David Kelly

Belfast Star went down 81-69 to Swords Thunder in an entertaining All Ireland Superleague clash at MCB last night.

Swords, still enjoying the momentum gained from their National Cup success a fortnight ago, simply had that little bit of extra class in every department in this Tayto-sponsored game — clinically taking their opportunities.

Offensively, Star started poorly and found themselves 14-6 down midway through the first quarter which was then followed by five offensive plays that failed to deliver a single basket.

In contrast, the Dublin side just kept hammering home the baskets to stretch their lead to 23-6 before American Dillon Stith nailed a three pointer.

Two further baskets meant going into the second quarter Star trailed 23-13 but early in the period they gave up a couple of easy baskets with Charlie Coombes and Lithuanian Alex Dolenko doing the damage as the Thunder stretched their lead to 33-19.

Dolenko was to the fore again as he picked up the ball and sliced through the Star defence to finish off a slick move.

Two free throws from Isaac Westbrooks took the Dubliners into a 20-point lead and the writing was on the wall for Star.

Conor Johnston came up with a morale-boosting three which was followed by a two-pointer from Paddy Mullan to offer the Belfast side some hope as they went into the half-time break trailing 48-34.

Star began the half with a nice lay-up from Stith but then the Thunder cranked up their defence and on the fast break converted with Westbrooks setting up Justin Goldsborough and Kevin Lacey who took them 17 clear.

In stark contrast, Star’s offence was once again misfiring and it took another three from Stith to keep them in the fight.

Down 66-52 at the end of the third quarter, even a three-pointer from young Sean Quinn — bringing Star within 10 points with two minutes remaining — failed to truly put Thunder out of their stride.

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