IT WILL be a busy festive season for Scotts Lakers St Paul’s with another home game in Killarney Sports Centre along with Castleisland Christmas blitz action plus a big National Cup semi-final to look forward to.
Scotts Lakers will face Sligo All Stars in a national league division one game on Saturday, December 30, at 3pm in Killarney Sports Centre. This match has been rescheduled to this date after Sligo were unable to travel due to bad weather on December 10.
Prior to the Sligo match, the Lakers will compete in the premier men category of the annual Castleisland Christmas blitz on Thursday, December 28. The Killarney side have three games that day against Fr Mathews at 2.10pm and Ballincollig at 4.35pm before facing the high-flying Tralee Warriors at 6.55pm. The top two teams in this competition will contest the Premier Men final that night at 8.45pm.
Scotts Lakers will get 2018 off to a start with a very important President’s Cup semi-final against Ballincollig on Saturday, January 6, in the Neptune Stadium, Cork, at 8pm. The other semi-final featuring Neptune against Keane’s SuperValu Killorglin will go ahead on Friday, January 5, at 8.30pm.
The return to national league action after a nine year absence has been an enjoyable learning experience for the St Paul’s club and the Scotts Lakers team that has tremendous potential and have enjoyed a season of mixed fortunes so far. The Lakers got off to a great start with early wins over Dublin Lions and Limerick Celtics.
The visit of league favourites Killorglin to Killarney Sports Centre attracted an estimated crowd of 950, probably the biggest crowd ever to attend a national league basketball game in Killarney. Lakers had chances to win this game but Killorglin’s foreign players proved to be the difference in the end. The huge crowds that have been attending the home games just shows the appetite and goodwill towards national league basketball in Killarney and the club will be hoping to build on this huge support for the remainder of the season and in the future. Other highs of the season so far include the dramatic overtime win over Ulster Elks in November and the big cup quarterfinal win away to Fr Mathews on December 3.
Team coach Cormac O’Donoghue has a squad that is capable of challenging any team in the league when playing to full potential. Americans Antuan Bootle and Justin Tuason have been prominent while Mark Greene and Padraig Lucey are two of the best Irish players in the league. Team captain Philip O’Connor along with veteran players Andrew Fitzgerald, Dan Griffin and Shane Horgan and promising young players Cian Clernon, Mark O’Shea and Paul Clarke offer Coach O’Donoghue plenty of options.
Scotts Lakers will be without Mihail Kapitanov, who has taken up a job offer in Italy, but the good news is the addition of Dalian Mason, a shooting guard, who will hopefully increase the scoring threat of the Lakers for the rest of the season. Following the busy festive season, Scotts Lakers will have a home game in the national league against Limerick Celtics on Saturday, January 13, at 7.30pm in Killarney Sports Centre.
Above: Maurice O’Donoghue of Scotts Hotel, Killarney, sponsor of Scott Lakers St Paul’s basketball team, pictured with team members Mark Greene, Andrew Fitzgerald, Antuan Bootle and Philip O’Connor. Pic: Eamonn Keogh