National League

Mar 24 2024

Pyrobel Killester land Super League title after club’s men reach playoff semi-finals

It proved a Super Saturday for Pyrobel Killester after their women’s team beat FloMAX Liffey Celtics 90-62 to land the 2023/24 Super League title in the National Basketball Arena just hours after their men reached the last four of the Super League playoffs following their 83-70 road win over defending champions, Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU.

Pyrobel Killester were crowned 2023/24 Super League champions after they produced a hugely impressive performance to see off FloMAX Liffey Celtics 90-62 in Saturday night’s title play-off in the National Basketball Arena.

 Pyrobel Killester players celebrate their win

The Dubliners boasted five players in double figures by the close of proceedings, including game MVP Ieva Bagdanaviciene, who emerged top-scorer on 26 points, while Michelle Clarke made four of her six attempts from beyond the arc on her way to a total of 19.

Killester were on top at both ends of the floor, and despite Allie Navarette and Sorcha Tiernan managing 37 between them, Celtics were unable to work their way back after falling 13 points adrift by the break.

Indeed, great inside work by Jiselle Thomas, Keowa Walters and Claire Melia helped ensure Killester remained well out of reach in the second half.

“Defensively we’ve been really good all season and we score a lot of points as well” said Pyrobel Killester head coach, Mark Grennell. “I think tonight was a really good example of what we can do. The girls nailed it.

“It’s tough for a league to be decided on a single day, but we were that close all the way through.

“Liffey Celtics are superb and today wasn’t their day, but that can’t take away from a great league campaign, winning 17 games and only losing three” he added.

FloMAX Liffey Celtics head coach, Karl Kilbride was quick to acknowledge the superb performance of the newly-crowned champions, saying “Big credit to Killester, they did a really good job in taking us out of our rhythm on offence and, offensively, they were excellent.

 FloMAX Liffey Celtics head coach Karl Kilbride at Saturday's game

“I don’t think we matched they intensity enough early on and we probably didn’t perform to the level we hoped we would. They deserved the win” he said.

SETU Waterford Wildcats bounced back from their 20-point reversal at the hands of FloMAX Liffey Celtics the previous Monday to beat Catalyst Fr. Mathews 87-77 and book their spot in the last four of the Super League Champions Trophy in Mercy Secondary School on Saturday evening.

Americans Jade Campton and Alarie Mayze proved a real headache for the Cork side, amassing 49 points and 26 rebounds between them as the homeside opened up a 16-point gap by the half-time recess.

And although five players finished on double figures for the visitors, including Ariel Johnson on 23, Fr. Mathews were unable to reel in their hosts. 

Despite Andre Nation putting up a game-high 28 points, Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU saw their pursuit of back-to-back Super League honours meet a premature end after they suffered an 83-70 home defeat at the hands of Pyrobel Killester on Saturday.

The defending champions held a narrow two-point advantage by the close of the first quarter, but disappointing second and third-quarter returns, that saw them outscored by 23 points, left them with a mountain to scale heading into the fourth.

They did manage to win that closing period, but not by nearly enough to undo Killester’s grip on this tie.

Paul Dick landed all three of his attempts from the arc on his way to a haul of 23 points for Killester while Troy Simons and Gregorio Encarnacion combined for a further 37.

“We knew going in that we had a massive task on our hands as Ballincollig had beaten Belfast Star, Tralee, Maree and Éanna since December on their home court” said Pyrobel Killester, head coach Jonny Grennell.

“We had timely contributions from all the guys throughout the game today and it was badly needed as Ballincollig were never going to go away.

“We’re delighted to get through and also delighted not to put a dampener on our Ladies team’s success today” he smiled.

James Gormley drained a basket at the death to see Griffith College Éanna edge a dramatic 82-81 win over Garvey’s Tralee Warriors in their quarter-final encounter in Coláiste Éanna.

 James Gormley of Griffith College Éanna

Facing a 13-point deficit at the halftime recess, the Dubliners produced a huge third quarter, outscoring their opponents by 16 in that period as Joshua Wilson and Sean Jenkins combined for 17 on their way to a total of 40 on the night.

It was heartbreak for Tralee, who played their part in an epic and ended up with four players on double digits, including Elijah Weaver (18) and Caleb Jordan (17).

A big second-quarter display in which they outgunned EJ Sligo All-Stars by 16, went a long way to seeing South Conference winners, Maree earn a 104-84 victory in Calasanctus College that sets them up a for penultimate-round clash with Griffith College Éanna.

Terence Lewis II finished up with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the homeside, while Tahmir Gadsden, Zvonomir Cutuk and Tom Dumont combined for a further 52 points and Eoin Rockall weighed in with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Their contributions proved essential in countering the 50-point tally for which Sligo’s Chrishon Briggs and Tom Child combined.

In the Division One playoff quarter-finals, Moy Tolka Rovers stunned Limerick Celtics by beating the South Conference winners 101-100 on the road in Crescent College. SETU Carlow fended off a huge challenge from Drogheda Wolves to win out 101-95 in Barrow Centre, while UCD Marian ran out 96-81 winners against Scotts Lakers Killarney in Oatlands College and Limerick Sport Eagles edged Kavanagh’s Portlaoise Panthers 80-78 in St Mary’s Hall.

In the last of the Division One League Trophy quarter-finals, Limerick Sport Huskies weathered a huge fourth-quarter revival by Templeogue to win out 69-60 in Nord Anglia International School.

Results Super League title playoffs

Saturday, March 23rd

Pyrobel Killester 90 - 62 FloMAX Liffey Celtics Super League Champions Trophy (quarter-finals)

Saturday, March 23rd

SETU Waterford Wildcats 87 - 77 Catalyst Fr. Mathews

Sunday March 24th

Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell vs The Address UCC Glanmire, Gurranabraher Credit Union Arena, 1445 Super League (playoff quarter-finals)

Saturday March 23rd

Irish Guide Dogs Ballincollig @MTU 70 - 83  Pyrobel Killester

Maree 104 - 84 EJ Sligo All-Stars

Griffith College Éanna 82 - 81 Garvey’s Tralee Warriors

Sunday March 24th

Belfast Star vs UCC Demons, De la Salle College, 1600 Division One (playoff quarter-finals) 

Saturday March 23rd

SETU Carlow 101 - 95 Drogheda Wolves

UCD Marian 96 - 81 Scotts Lakers Killarney

Limerick Celtics 100 - 101 Moy Tolka Rovers

Kavanagh’s Portlaoise Panthers 78 - 80 Limerick Sport Eagles Division One League Trophy (quarter-final)

Saturday March 23rd

Templeogue 60 - 69 Limerick Sport Huskies