National League Division One
Scotts Lakers 93-70 Fr Mathews
Despite trailing by 15 points at one stage, Scotts Lakers St Paul’s bounced back to take complete control and secure a comprehensive 23-point victory over Fr Mathews in Killarney Sports Centre on Saturday night. A capacity crowd filled the Killarney venue for this opening home game of the season and they didn’t go home disappointed.
It was a match where Scotts Lakers’ outstanding new American signing Seán O’Brien was the difference between the sides. A game high of 37 points combined with a tremendous all-round display on both sides of the court meant he stood out from any other player on view. The Killarney side have certainly secured the services of a quality American player and his presence will be a huge boost to the Lakers’ challenge this season.
The visitors started much the better side and they led 20-5 with four minutes left in the first quarter as the Lakers struggled to make any impact.
The introduction of veteran assistant coach Shane McCarthy made a big difference for the Lakers. His smart assist play opened up opportunities for his teammates and the hosts trailed by just two, 23-25, at the end of the first quarter.
The home side continued to impress in the second quarter with big three-pointers from O’Brien, Greene, Hersisia and McCarthy and they led 44-36 with four minutes left in the half. They maintained control with further scores from Andrew Fitzgerald and Mark Greene to lead 57-43 at half-time.
Fr Mathews tried everything in the third quarter to narrow the gap but O’Brien led the Killarney challenge to great effect. His superb ball-handling skills and intelligent play beat Mathews’ full court press every time as the home side continued to dominate. Cormac O’Donoghue’s team led 74-56 entering the final quarter.
The gap was stretched to 91-62 with four minutes left in the final period. O’Brien left the action with less than three minutes remaining. He had scored 37 points at that stage – despite the slow start and the other times he sat out during the course of the game.
In the end it was a mere formality as the Scotts Lakers cruised to a 93-70 victory. It was a big improvement on the team performance from the win over Limerick IT the previous week and the Killarney side currently find themselves joint top of the Southern Conference.
Scotts Lakers: Seán O’Brien (37), Papito Hersisia (18), Mark Greene (14), Dailian Mason (12), Andrew Fitzgerald (5), Shane McCarthy (4), Cian Clernon (2), Justin Tuason (1), Philip O’Connor, Dylan O’Sullivan, Marko Bencic and James Murphy.
Fr Mathews: Deon Baker Jr (25), Michael McGinn (21) and Paul O’Driscoll