Newry U14 Still Successful on Home turf
Newry Fliers 52 vs Omagh Thunder 35
Newry’s U14 continued their season with 2 home games to close off the first half of their season. So far, Newry had been very successful and were looking to show their skills at their first game at the Fliers new home at the Abbey Grammar school.
First team up was Omagh Thunder. Omagh had been doing well in the league and should it should have been a close game, but they travelled down to Newry with a depleted squad, which left it very comfortable for Newry inside the paint.
The first half was quite close, For Newry, Matthew Munroe & Manual Hoya worked well from the guard positions to open the scoring and found weaknesses inside the Omagh defence. they were able to drive in and dish the ball to the open man finding space along the back of the court. Eoghan Byrne was able to replicate this attack pattern, but instead of the dish was attacking the basket and making his own shooting opportunities in the paint, both on the layup and set shots, and Omagh had no way to stop him. Omagh’s captain D. Hayes on the other side, kept them in the game with some excellent ball control and shooting and the teams entered the half close, 23-18 to Newry.
In the second half it was Shane Morgan who put on a show. He’d been relatively quiet in the first half, but in the third quarter he dominated under the basket. He was able to gain position and the defenders just had no answer to stop him. Newry’s guards, James Smyth & Adam Hanna were able to feed the ball into the big man and could score directly at will. Morgan was also able to dominate the offensive rebounds to convert the missed shots into more points. He finished the game with an eye watering 24 points, a tally most seniors would be proud off. Morgan also inspired his team mates with Eoin Sands, Adam McParland to making their scoring debut. Despite a late display of three point shooting from Omagh’s captain, Newry won the game comfortably with a total of 52 points to 35.
Team: S Morgan 24, E Byrne 9, M Munroe 7, M Hoya-Alonso 5, E Sands 2, A McParland 2, A Hanna 2
Newry Flies 32 vs Queens 24
Newry’s second game was against a Queens’s side, who had been performing well in the league and who gave the squad their first real challenge of the season. Both teams started with a very strong man defence and found it very difficult to make an opening, Newry’s Matthew Munroe making the only basket of the opening quarter.
Despite the low scores to start, the game was still exciting to watch, it was end to end but it was the defence that was the star. Despite some excellent passing phases from Queens, and a dribble penetration attack from Newry, both defences were able to absorb and reshape as needed. For Newry Cillian McArdle & Eoghan Byrne & Cole McMahon were tenacious in their defensive effort and chased down every loose ball and fast break. They had to give up some fouls which got them into trouble later in the game, but it was great to watch such commitment on this end of the floor. It doesn’t always get the credit it deserves and had such an impact on the game.
Queens were getting the best of what little space was available and were leading for most of the game. Newry never gave up, but were frustrations were running high as the youngsters were being tested and not getting the ball control as easy as some of their recent matches. Going into the end of the final quarter Newry found themselves 6 points down with only 4 minutes to go in the game. Newry took a time out and their coach urged them to fight for the win and get those 3 baskets that would tie the game up.
In the end it came down to Newry’s big men Shane Morgan and Owen Saunders. Both had started slowly in the first half due to queens captain L. Kilpatrick. He played a very tough defence on them for most of the game and never let Newry have their own way.
Newry had finally managed to gain some momentum however and the big men were able to work with each other, passing the ball and retrieving each other’s rebounds, until Newry got within striking distance and tied the game up with 20 seconds to go on the clock. Queens couldn’t recover and the game went into Overtime at 22 points each.
Once in overtime, Newry kept the momentum they had from eradicating Queens lead. Morgan and Munroe teamed up together for 10 points over the 3 minutes and Queens could only answer with 2. Newry finished victorious 32-24 but the final score didn’t reflect how close the game actually was. It will be interesting to see how the teams perform when Queens have the home court advantage in the second leg in February.
Team: S Morgan 21, M Munroe 6, O Saunders 5, J Smyth, C McMahon, C McArdle, T McGinn