Senior Game Reports
Letterkenny Blaze vs Newry Fliers - Wednesday 03rd February 2016
On Wednesday the Newry men’s basketball team made the long trip to Letterkenny for one of the few remaining matches of the season. The team arrived at the destination with only six players which set them up for a very challenging game.
With a long journey and a few delays in the game, the Newry team found it difficult to get into the swing of the match straight away. Letterkenny scored a couple of early three pointers so the men found themselves in trouble. Fortunately Newry captain Paul Crawley was there to score a few baskets and get his team on the scoreboard along with a helping hand from Eoin McStay. The first quarter consisted of great Newry defence and a constant attack from the home team but ended at 13 points each.
The second quarter was much like the first with the strong Newry defence holding the Letterkenny offence at bay, however Blaze guard M. Thornton had found shooting form early and continued to score for his team. The answer to this scoring once again came from Crawley, getting more points on the board. Newry centre Declan Mathers also started to get to work under the basket adding to the score and once again this quarter ended even, at 28 points each, thanks to some late baskets from Daniel McCaughey.
After a short half time break the Newry team was eager to get back on the court, but none more eager than Aaron Miller, who was making his return to the squad in this game. Miller took to the court scoring the next 9 points for his team and 11 in the quarter, but even still the quarter ended even once again as Blaze continued to score and had found some consistency in their jump shots.
Going into the last quarter all square, the Newry team found their points coming from many different players and the team’s defence remained strong. Blaze struggled to score any baskets down low as a result of hard work from Mathers and Walsh, the Newry big men. However it was Letterkenny’s night as their shots continued to fall and they pulled away. A late basket from Mathers gave the away team hope as they found themselves down by 3 points in the closing seconds of the game, but unfortunately the last second 3 point attempt from Miller was unsuccessful and the game was lost. Final score, Blaze – 57, Newry – 54.
Scorers: Miller - 19, P. Crawley (C) – 18, D. Mathers – 8, E. McStay – 5, D. McCaughey – 4, M. Walsh
Newry Fliers vs Magherafelt Titans - Tuesday 5th January 2016
After a narrow defeat to Tigers last week, Newry’s second game of the New Year was against the Magherafelt Titans in the Abbey Grammar. We were more determined than ever to come away with our first win of the New Year. Niall Byrne got Newry off to a flying start scoring almost half of our points in the first quarter. The Titans shooting accuracy, however, gave them a narrow lead of two points going into the next quarter.
The starting five came out again in the second quarter with a much more intense defence and held the Titans to only seven points. Our captain Paul Crawley featured strongly with countless assists and a clutch three by Decky Mathers on a depleted shot clock saw Newry finally take the lead, ending that quarter 26-23 to Newry.
Ryan Lennon started Newry’s second half with two free throws as we battled on for the win. The Titans hadn’t given up yet and a tough physical game pursued. However, smart plays and fast ball movement made way for easy points for Decky Mathers and Niall Byrne. Thanks to the diligent defensive by the big men Ryan Lennon and Conor Twomey Newry was still able to maintain our three point lead at the end of the third quarter.
It was anyone’s game heading into the fourth. Coach Brady rallied the team for one last push. Titans played a physical defence, leading to many fouls but Newry remained disciplined and we were able to find our mark with Anthony Green finishing the game 42-37 with two free throws. A very demanding game but nevertheless the Newry Fliers were able to deliver with another win and with no doubt many more to come.
Newry Fliers vs Tyrone Towers - Tuesday 15th December 2015
Newry’s last game before Christmas seen the Tyrone Towers visit the Abbey Grammar. Through injury, a weakened Newry team battled hard against a very physical Tyrone side. First quarter points from the ever reliable Paul Crawley seen Newry build an early lead. The Towers fought hard to battle back and level the scoring, and two free throws from Michael Walsh seen Newry end the quarter narrowly in front 12-9.
The second quarter was the beginning of the turning of the tie. A heated battle ensued and the foul count rose at a hefty pace. Both teams accumulated team fouls early on. Newry Declan Mathers foolishly acquired three personal fouls within minutes and ruled himself out to the later stages of the game. While the Towers enjoyed the more physical game, our Fliers struggled. Scoring only from free throws, Newry’s lead diminished and the second quarter ended all square 20-20.
Coach Brady rallied the troops with a passionate half time team talk. Newry came into the third with a fire in their bellies. Newry young guns; Campbell, Byrne and Lennon took some of the scoring responsibilities off their captain, and a strong showing from the talented trio seen the Fliers open a commanding lead of 39-30 as the third quarter ended.
It was all or nothing in the fourth as both teams went for. The Towers hit a couple of big three pointers to reduce Newry’s lead. A over physical encounter seen Mathers (Fliers) and Barker (Tower) removed from the game for unsportsman like behaviour. However Newry refused to back down to the now punishing physical game of their oppenents. Newry’s big man Conor ‘Tooms’ Twomey recovered some big defensive rebounds to aid his team’s defence, while being in the right place at the right time on offence to maintain Newry’s lead. A couple of free throws from Crawley saw Newry finish the game with a well-earned 53-46 victory. Match report: Declan Mathers
Newry Fliers vs Anderstown Tigers - Tuesday 1st December 2015
A short hand Newry side set the pace for the opening half of this December match-up but a full strength Tigers side finished up strong for a comfortable win.
“It was a disappointing result but the team really showed heart out there tonight – I can’t ask for much more.”- Coach Brady
The Flyers came out of the blocks quickly with Team Captain Anthony Green getting an early field goal, followed quickly by Team Coach Sean Brady adding another two and Garett Campbell sinking a big three point shot. A strong defensive display from both sides kept the remainder of the first quarter a low scoring affair. D Murry and P Carson helped the Tigers even things up with some strong scores leaving things at nine a piece after the first.
The second quarter remained tight with big defensive displays from Newry men Conor Twomey and Michael Walsh. Ben Crozier and Niall Burn turned on the offensive with two scores each before Campbell again sank another big three to put the Flyers in the lead. The Tigers utilised the full side at their disposal to switch out all five players starting players and the fresh legs paid dividends as the half ended with C Bartlett scoring to give the Tigers a one point lead, 25-24.
Newry faded in the third and poor discipline sent the Tigers to the free throw line enough times to open up a favourable lead. This combined with two quick three points from M Devlin left the Tigers finishing the quarter ahead by 48-37 with the Flyers facing an uphill battle in the fourth.
Big scores from Campbell, Green and Twomey put the Flyers within touching distance with only minutes to go but the Tigers took flight and a flurry of scores from Bartlett, Best and Kelly put the game out of Newry’s reach. Match report: Conor Twomey
Final Score: Andersontown Tigers 68 v Newry Fliers 44.
Newry Fliers vs Omagh Thunder - Tuesday 24th November 2015
Newry Fliers took on rivals Omagh Thunder in another close game. Both teams looked flat at the start of the game with a low scoring first quarter. However, following an early time out player-coach Sean Brady addressed the team’s lack of energy and set out how this game was going to be won on the defense.
Coming back onto the floor the team instantly picked it up on the defensive end with team captain Paul Crawley getting steals which led to easy baskets. As the quarter drew to the end Declan Mather’s and Niall Byrne picked up 4 quick points after getting some big rebounds in the post.
The second quarter brought a more direct and effective attack from Omagh as they got more into the game and took the lead. This forced Newry’s defense into a 3-2 zone to help cope with Omagh’s 3 point shooting. However this led to fouls down low which got the bigs into foul trouble. Despite this, Byrne and Michael Walsh baskets ensured the Fliers didn’t let Omagh get on a run and helped keep the game close as the half came to a end.
Going into the second half, the Fliers knew they would need a big lift on both ends of the floor, given that they had lost players so early on to foul trouble. The players knew that their focus was now damage control from outside working their bigs on the inside to ensure a lead in the game. Again, Crawley working on the defensive end played a big role in the third quarter as it helped keep the scoreboard ticking over. Brady also played a huge role as he locked down Thunders point guard and held him to only 3 points.
As the final quarter began Newry knew they would have to dig deep to keep a narrow lead and close out the game. And while Omagh continued to knock on the door, Newry continued to slam it shut matching them basket for basket at every opportunity.
With the lead at only 4 points with 2 minutes left on the clock Anthony Green stepped up and took a hard foul only to go to the line and hit a free throw. This forced Omagh into pushing the ball up the floor and playing a style which did not suit them. This allowed Newry to take their time on the offense and work two basket down low within the last minute that secured the win. Final Score 53-47
Scores: Paul 16, Niall 13, Decky 12, Sean 4, Michael 4, Garret 3, Anthony 1
Newry Fliers vs Kilkeel Knights - Tuesday 10th November 2015
Newry Fliers made an early exit of the BNI Cup in their round 2 game against Kilkeel.
The Fliers stepped out on the court against some familiar faces, with the past few encounters over the years; it has been an intense atmosphere and the Newry side were ready from the start with some strong encouragement from Coach Sean Brady.
The first quarter seen the two teams match up well with end to end scoring. Kilkeel’s no.9 Surginas opened up the scoring account with some slick inside work but the home team did let this rattle them as the experience in Mathers, Crawley and Green shone through helping Newry match them with some big points of their own.
The second quarter started as the first ended with Newry’s captain Paul Crawley leading the charge with some aggressive play driving to the basket. Each team were playing a strong defensive game and this showed in the hustle and effort of Garrett Campbell and Niall Byrne who played pivotal roles in the Flier’s zone defence.
The game did not let up and the second half started with the same intensity from the outset and the game referee’s had their hands full making tough calls on both ends of the court. Newry made their best efforts in the defence they played closing up Kikeel’s big players on the inside but this left them susceptible to Kilkeel’s shooters who punished the home side with big shots from behind the arch.
Coach Brady saw this as an opportunity for the younger players to gain some experience allowing them to come off the bench to show what they were made of and they proved to pick up the energy as the game clock was running down. Unfortunately there was just not enough time to close the gap in the scoring as the Kilkeel players continued to light the scoreboard up with three pointers.
Although the game finished Newry 41- 79 Kilkeel it was an entertaining game throughout. Coach Brady commented, ‘the final score does not reflect the outcome of the game. I am very proud of each player who put their heart into each play and they finished the game with their heads held high. We have gained some valuable experience from this and will take this and use it throughout the rest of the season.
CB Eagles vs Newry Fliers - Wednesday 4th November 2015
Newry Fliers took to the road again this week, with a journey to Lisburn to play the CB Eagles. The squad had an unfamiliar look with new faces at senior level, however Newry were still able to bring a full squad on the journey.
CB Eagles posed a big threat from the onset. Newry starting with a more experienced line-up, who were blown away early on from a tough, physical offence. CB Eagles dominated hitting some big shots early. Racing into an 11-0 lead, coach McGreevy called a time out in a bid to pick up his clearly deflated team. Newry composed themselves from the restart, changing to a 3 2 defence and got themselves some points on the boards. Captain Crawley shrugged of CB Eagles’ physical defensive wall and drove through it with a strong 3 point play. More free throws seen Newry finish the first quarter trailing by 11 points.
Newry didn't take as long to get going in the second, again Crawley taking a battering to register point for his team, and a combination of quick passing and an effective pick a roll offence, big man Niall Byrne got himself on the scoreboard with a couple of easy layups. Baskets from Decky Mathers and Anthony Green saw the Fliers reduced their opponents lead as the finished the half.
The Third quarter brought a more direct and effective attack from the eagles. The forced Newry’s defence into tricky situations which led to them fouling their opponents or leaving them wide open for easy baskets. Eoin Mc Stay and Garret Campbell baskets ensured the CB Eagles didn't run away with the game in the third.
As the final quarter began Newry knew they would have to dig deep to overturn this deficit. And while they continued to knock on the door, their opponents continued to slam it shut. They saw out the game and extended their lead over the fliers, finishing 63-41 victors. It was another learning curve for this relatively new squad but positives were there to be taken from the game, with Fliers coaching staff encouraged by some of the improvements they have seen from their squad. (Game Report – Decky Mathers)
Newry Fliers 60 – 27 Letterkenny Blaze - Tuesday 20th October 2015
Newry Fliers senior men got their league campaign off to the perfect start with a home victory over Letterkenny. The senior men had won a cup fixture two weeks previous and were eager to take the momentum from that win and transfer it into their first league game. Letterkenny have always been renowned for having brilliant youth teams, so Newry went into this game not knowing what to expect from their opponents.
The Fliers were looking to get into the swing of things early and knock off all that preseason rust and dominated the first half of the game. The Fliers went into half time leading 32-6 with strong offensive work from the ever reliable Paul Crawley and Anthony Green and also tough defence from Declan Mathers and Mickey Brady. The Fliers entered the 3rd quarter with a comfortable lead and this may have contributed to a sloppy quarter as they caused needless turn overs due to taking their foot off the gas and allowed Letterkenny to score more points that quarter than they managed in the whole first half. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, Coach Sean Brady rallied his troops and this was evident on the court as they pulled their socks up and got back to their fluid best with some quick fast breaks and scores led by Ryan Lennon, Sean Brady and Garrett Campbell and tough pressure defence from Daniel McCaughey and Ben Crozier. In the end, Newry ran out comfortable winners with a good all round performance but it was clear they still had things to work on if they were to progress this season.
Final score: Newry 60, Letterkenny 27.
- Byrne 13pts, P. Crawley 12pts, A. Green 9pts, R. Lennon 7pts, D. Mathers 6pts, M. Brady 6pts, G. Campbell 4pts, D. McCaughey 3pts, S. Brady, B. Crozier, M. Petronis.
Newry Fliers 75 – 44 BC Wolves - Tuesday 6th October 2015
Over the summer Newry Fliers moved its base from Newry Sports Centre to Abbey CBS and after a tough pre-season the Senior Men had their first test in a BNI Cup game against a strong Division 2 side, BC Wolves. After losing vital members of the squad over the summer to university & work commitments it was worried that the team would struggle in BNI Division 1 this year so a good performance was essential. A solid first quarter by the home side put Fliers up by 9 points, the highlight of which was the returning Niall Byrne scoring 11 points. The second quarter took the same pattern with Fliers punishing Wolves on offence while staying strong on defence with Conor Twomey and Michael Walsh. Half time score 39-20 to Newry. Third quarter proved a lot tighter with Wolves coming back into the game but great scoring from Garret Campbell and defensive work from Eoin McStay and Declan Mathers ensured the comeback was not prolonged. In the fourth and final quarter Fliers ran the Wolves ragged with numerous fast breaks from Paul Crawley and Anthony Green. Final Score 75 – 44 to the Fliers. As well as a great performance from the returning Niall Byrne scoring 28 points there was huge performances from Fliers debutants Ben Crozier, Daniel McGaughey, and Ryan Lennon who stood up and didn’t look out of place in senior basketball.
Coach Sean Brady was very happy with the performance:
“The first game of any season is going to be difficult but with the changes we had in the squad over the summer this was going to be a real test. I am extremely proud of the players who all played their part, with a special mention to the debutants Ben, Danny and Ryan. With talent like this coming through the ranks and players like Niall returning I have a lot of hope for some silverware this season” (Game Report – Declan McGreevy)