Tralee Warriors made it four from four in the Basketball Ireland Development League with a deserved 94-85 win over Fr. Mathews from Cork in a keenly contested clash at the Tralee Sports Complex on Sunday evening. The teams were level six times with a dominant final quarter the key to victory for the Warriors who made it four wins from four in the League.
The Warriors certainly did not have their own way and the Cork outfit came to Tralee determined to challenge the hosts unbeaten record. Fr. Mathews stormed into the contest with an early volley of scores that saw them quickly build a 17-6 lead with Colm Blount, Gillaume Periera and Emmanuel Anaba sharing the scores and brothers Steven and Dan Bowler keeping the Warriors flame alight. The hosts cut the advantage late on through Padraig Fleming and James Fernane either side of Zigi Kaletka’s first major score of the night before Anaba added to give Fr. Mathews a 20-13 lead at the end of the first.
Adam O’Keeffe gave the hosts a perfect start to the second from beyond the arc and when Aaron Fleming did likewise either side of scores from Fernane and Josh Osayanrhion the Warriors had cut the gap to a single point. Blount, Anaba and Periera were all on the mark again for Fr. Mathews but Steven Bowler added a brilliant quick fire 10 points before another Aaron Fleming three saw the Warriors right back on terms. However baskets from Blount, Cillian O’Connell and Periera with two major efforts gave the visitors a 49-45 half time lead.
The Warriors decisively turned around the Fr. Mathews lead and within three minutes of the restart had fired their way to a 57-50 lead with Zigi Kaletka hitting his second and third threes and James Fernane and Dan and Steven Bowler all on the mark. It got better for Warriors when Josh Osayanrhion’s dominance in the paint allied to a three from Fernane and another inside score from Aaron Fleming pushed the advantage out to 68-56. To Fr. Mathews credit they regrouped and a late charge saw Anaba, Periera, Blount and Thomas Murphy combine to haul the visitors right back into the contest to level at 70-70 going into the final quarter.
Fr. Mathews late third quarter charge continued into the fourth and when Blount added a double and Anaba another they led 74-70. Kaletka fired down the fourth of his five majors before James Fernane levelled the game for the sixth time with a floated effort from inside. Aaron Fleming gave the Warriors the lead before the momentum swung the way of the home side with a hat trick of threes, one from Kaletka with his fifth and Fernane with two to dramatically turn the game in the Warriors favour 88-79. Dan Bowler and Daire Kennelly put further distance between the teams as they now led by double digits but in the final acts of the game Murphy and O’Connell from inside and outside added for Fr. Mathews to leave the final scoreline reading 94-85.
Tralee Warriors: James Fernane 20, Zigi Kaletka , Steven Bowler 16
Fr. Mathews: Colm Blount, Gillaume Periera, Emmanuel Anaba 14