Queen’s Hornets were defeated as LYIT gained revenge for their loss earlier in the season in Belfast.
Queens Hornets 67
LYIT took advantage of the extra man on court, as Queen’s turned up initially with just four, and their full court pressure defence, along with the inside duo of Ger Murray and Mark Cannon hurt the four-man box defence of Queens scoring 16 points between them in the quarter alone. After the first five minutes, the remaining Queens players landed and restored balance, however they were trailing 13-5. Queen’s American, Rory O’Neill tried hard to keep his team in touch with a few tough moves in the post. LYIT led 24-13 after the first period.
The second quarter saw LYIT find their range on offence when both Seamus Hickey and Steve Cannon knocked down three point shots against their zone. Queens made a little run through Andy Dolliver and M Dieye scoring from the inside on drives to the basket. Queens narrowed the gap to single digits once again through O’Neill before LYIT captain Mark Cannon scored three jump-shots in succession to give the home side a halftime lead 43-28, finishing off a terrific team defensive effort by the Letterkenny men.
The game began to get a little sloppy in the third quarter, with Queens using their physical strength and presence to wear down the home side time after time. They controlled the pace here, not allowing LYIT to get out on the break, and they hit three three-pointers to reduce the deficit.
LYIT point guard Conor Boyle stepped up for the home side at the offensive end, scoring back to back drives, and knocking down a three of his own. Seamus Hickey made all four of his free throws and LYIT maintained a lead of 57-44 with one-quarter left to play.
Queens started the fourth a lot sharper once again and began to find a rhythm and never gave up, showing why they are in second place in the league. Conor Mc Ilroy and O Neill put up points on the board early to make this game all to play for. They reduced the gap to five points.
Conor Dorrian stepped into the game and was playing a crucial role for the LYIT team, dominating the defensive boards and converting his inside post moves at the other end. Steve Cannon scored on a lovely drive to the basket to push the gap out and LYIT held their nerve at the free throw line to grab this well deserved win 78-67.
Scorers: LYIT: M Cannon (20pts), S Cannon (9), C Boyle (14), G Murray (12), S Hickey (13), E Dragunas, C Dorrian (10), M Ismail, P Rose. Coach: Dave Bradley.
Queens: K Smyth (6), G Devlin (11), C McIlroy (10), A Dolliver (8), R O Neill (20), M Dieye (8), I Kruiper (2), D Tierney (2).
LYIT have our last home game of the season on Thursday at home with a 7.45pm tip-off. They play Kilkeel Knights in what should be a tough game, needing a win to keep out of the relegation play-off.