All six teams returned to the court this past week in the Letterkenny Basketball Summerleague, which gave fans some very tight games with plenty of flashy highlights.
Game 1: Magic 50 – Lakers 30
The first game of the week saw two big teams in action. The game started score for score with Norman Mauricio and Eduardas Diktonas (Lakers) scoring back-to-back lay-ups. Mark Cannon (Magic) continued attacking the basket and converted his free throws at the line. The score was close right up until the half, in which Magic held a slim one-point lead. However, the second half was totally different. Despite great efforts from Padraig Barrett, Lakers struggled to get up and down the court. This led to numerous fast break easy scores for Magic, with one spectacular play in particular that saw Edvinas Dapsys score a flashy one handed alley-oop. Magic ran out comfortable winners 50 – 30. Top Scorers: (Magic) Erik Dragunas 13pts and (Lakers) Padraig Barrett 11pts.
Game 2: Clippers 49 – Celtics 55
Celtics got off to a blistering start and led from start to finish in this one. They jumped into a 17-3 lead through good teamwork, leading to easy post scores for Renatas Jocys and Ejder Akkoc. Clippers called a time-out and had an uphill struggle ahead if they were to make this a game. They fought hard through the high-scoring duo of Steve Cannon and Shaun Wogan and continually reduced the deficit, slowly but surely. Pete Rose caught fire in the second half as he knocked down four three-pointers to seal the game for the Celtics by only six points, despite the Clippers late push. Top Scorers: (Clippers) Shaun Wogan 22pts and (Celtics) Pete Rose 18pts.
The last game of the Tuesday night match-ups was by far the closest game and went right down to the wire. Both teams were searching for their first win of the Summerleague and it was clear that both teams had this in the back of their minds as they battled hard all game. Ger Murray (Bulls) got into the action straight away, using his quickness to get to the basket for scores. He was evenly matched by Billy Banda (Thunder) who used his strength and footwork to create a lot of scoring opportunities. There were a few highlight plays from this game, one being Pauric Carr’s monster block off the board for the Bulls. Thunder’s Padhraic Coll was clutch at the end of this game with a huge shot, followed directly by two pressure free throws. Arnold Custodio tied the game with a big three, but Aidan Campbell hit two free throws in the dying seconds to win it by two for Thunder. Top Scorers: (Bulls) Ger Murray 19pts and (Thunder) Billy Banda 18pts.
Game 4: Clippers 42 – Thunder 38
Clippers began this game in superb form and punished the Thunder on the break time and time again, where they ran in lay-up after lay-up to open up a huge 22-3 lead early on. Paul Murray and Shaun Wogan (Clippers) must have felt it was lay-up practice because they used their speed to run the court and were rewarded at the other end. Rory O’ Brien (Clippers) had a lovely block, sending the ball way back. Billy Banda tried hard to keep his Thunder team in it but faced a huge halftime deficit of 36-12. Something changed in the second half – Thunder upped their defensive intensity and completely shut down the young Clippers, holding them to six points in the entire second half. Conor Dorrian played well in the post, while Mike Foy grabbed a few charges to bring his team within two-points in the last seconds. Steve Cannon and Amer Quiambao hit from the free-throw line to hold on for the win. Top Scorers: (Clippers) Shaun Wogan 13pts and (Thunder) Billy Banda 20pts.
Game 5: Magic 47 – Celtics 45
This game went back and forth from start to finish. Erik Dragunas and Zak Balogun started brightly for the Magic on offense. Celtics pushed the ball and attacked Magic right from the off and getting them into foul trouble early. Daniel McArdle set a Summerleague record by fouling out in the opening five minutes of the game for the Magic, leaving them with just five players to play the rest of the game. Ejder Akkoc and Paul McHugh worked well with each other inside for the Celtics. Joseph King (Magic) came up big in the second half, and Mark Cannon finished strong on offense in the dying minutes to ensure his Magic team took a two-point lead with half a minute to go. Celtics missed two shots in the last five seconds that would have won the game for them. Both shots just rimmed out and Magic held on to keep their unbeaten streak alive and secure their spot at the top of the table for another week. Top Scorers: (Magic) Mark Cannon 20pts and (Celtics) Ejder Akkoc 14pts.
Game 6: Bulls 42 – Lakers 39
The last game of the week saw the Bulls grab their first Summerleague win but they had to dig deep and were pushed to the buzzer. Arnold Custodio scored a quick seven points for the Bulls early in the game. Lakers answered through the strong post play from Brian Gribben. Each team went on little runs with multiple lead changes, which kept things interesting. Kieran O’ Neill (Lakers) had a great offensive game pouring in 23points out of 39 in total as he attacked the rim and converted his shots, but he needed help from his team-mates if they were to grab a win here. Mindaugas Bartasius and Troy Morris held their nerve at the free-throw line in the end, and Lakers missed a shot on the buzzer that would have tied the game and sent it into a free-throw shootout. Bulls held on in an exciting game and finish to week two. Top Scorers: (Bulls) Arnold Custodio 9pts and (Lakers) Kieran O’ Neill 23pts.
These teams will take the court every Tuesday and Thursday in Aura between 8-10pm, so if anybody is interested in coming down to watch the games, then they are very welcome free of charge. There are three games each Tuesday and the same on Thursday so there is plenty of action on display. All our information (stats, fixtures, results and more) can be viewed online at