National League Div 1
Scotts Lakers v IT Carlow
Sunday at 3pm
(Killarney Sports Centre)

If things go well for IT Carlow this weekend, the intimidating-looking nine-point gap to the second place Lakers could be cut to just three.

The top two teams from each conference will advance to the playoffs at the end of the season and with Ballincollig dominating the south, it appears as though the rest are playing for second.

It’s a huge weekend of basketball for the teams at the top. Carlow host UL (3-9) on Saturday in a game they will be expected to win while the Lakers have a tricky away tie, also on Saturday evening, against a Ballincollig side who are undefeated in the league (13-0). If the Killarney men fail to inflict upon Ballincollig their first defeat of the season, the gap between second and third could be six ahead of the crucial six-pointer at the Auracle on Sunday afternoon.

If that were to transpire, Carlow would surely smell blood and Sunday’s battle could well prove to be one of the most important games of the season.

On the flipside, the Lakers will see this as a tremendous opportunity. Their two opponents in this weekend’s double-header are the only two teams to beat them in the league this season so some payback is on the cards, and a pair of victories would put them in an extremely strong position heading into the final third of the season.

Last Saturday’s cup defeat to the Limerick Celtics will have hurt but they can make statement this weekend by giving their biggest league rivals a right good rattle. A number of recent home games ended in largely uneventful blow-out wins but the loyal home fans were treated to a thriller last weekend. With crucial league points at stake and a really good team coming to town, this one has all the makings of another Auracle classic.

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