Basketball: National League Division One
Crucial top of the table clash for Lakers
SCOTTS Lakers are in third place on the league table with a 10-3 winning record. Fr Mathews have also played 13 games and are in second place with a 11-2 record. League leaders Ballincollig are out in front and remain unbeaten with a 13-0 record and are the visitors to Killarney Sports Centre on this Saturday night, January 4th for an important league clash.
It really is a game that Lakers need to win to close the gap on the league table and be in a stronger position to challenge for honours at the end of the season. However Ballincollig will be raging hot favourites again following recent clashes between both sides. In six games between the teams in the past three seasons the Cork side have emerged victorious in each one and will travel to Killarney in confident form. The most recent clash was the national cup match in October with Ballincollig winning 81-68.
Scotts Lakers have been enjoying some good form recently and the addition of new American Xavier Talton has made them a more formidable outfit. In the cup clash in October Ballincollig’s American Andre Nation and Spaniard Inigo Zabola dominated proceedings and combined for 50 points between them. Their Irish players Ronan O’Sullivan ,Ciaran O’Sullivan, Dylan Corkery and Ian McLoughlin are some of the best in the league and will relish the challenge to match up against Lakers best players. A significant factor in that cup match was the ability of the likes of Dylan Corkery to play suberb defence on Lakers American Aaron Jackson for long periods and limit his scoring threat until late in the game.
Lakers should be able to make it tougher for the visitors this time round and the option to rotate Xavier Talton with Aaron Jackson will provide extra options. Big Toby Christensen also has the power and strength to trouble Ballincollig under the boards while Lakers will also require big contributions from Mick McGinn, Brian O’Neill , Mark Greene, Carlton Cuff, Seamus Brosnan and Jamie O’Sullivan.
Home advantage is a big plus for Scotts Lakers, who will be determined to get the Ballincollig monkey off their back and finally secure a badly needed victory over them. Tip-off in Killarney Sports Centre is at 7.30 pm.