The Letterkenny Summerleague, sponsored by ‘Edwin Foley & Co Chartered Accountants’, finished up last week and proved to be a tremendous success with all the players, as well as numerous fans, getting in on the action. Lakers won the final, despite a valiant late comeback from the Magic, but they held on to take the crown. At halftime, a number of lucky fans were taken out from the jam-packed stands and they took part in a number of fun races with small prizes up for grabs. Check out the game reports and photos below!
Semi Final 1: Magic 50 – Celtics 39
The stands were filled for the semi-finals and the pressure was on both teams to deliver. Magic, who had been so consistent in the league throughout were put under pressure from the start and came out cold in the first half. Pete Rose started sharp for the Celtics, as did Paul McHugh who hurt the Magic with their mid range shooting. Mark Cannon scored 9 points in succession through drives to the basket for the Magic and Daniel McArdle played very well, but despite this, Celtics increased their lead to 12 points in the first half 29-17. Things quickly changed in the second half as the team with the best record in the league began to heat up. Lithuanian’s Erik Dragunas and Edvinas Dapsys attacked the basket with success and drew the Magic level for the first time in the game. Renatas Jocys and Paul McHugh would not give up for the Celtics and hit four three-pointers between them. Magic fought back again with their much-improved defence and a huge three pointer from Jay McMenamin gave Magic the lead and they held Celtics scoreless for the last 3 minutes of the game and booked their spot in the final. Top Scorers: (Magic) Erik Dragunas 17pts and (Celtics) Paul McHugh 21pts.
Semi Final 2: Clippers 44 – Lakers 48
Clippers started sharper in the opening half with Moe Ismail leading the break and converting in traffic. Kieran O Neill got to the foul line time and time again and kept his Lakers in check. Steve Cannon scored well for the Clippers from the outside helping them to build a small lead, but Padraig Barrett punished the Clippers inside, and reduced the gap to three points at halftime. The second half went score for score with both teams evenly matched. John Cronin hit a three for the Lakers and Kieran O Neill hit two down the stretch, which gave them a little lead. Clippers responded with Paul Murray and Shaun Wogan working well together inside. Clippers had opportunities to tie the game and even win it in the last two minutes but missed free throws handed the game to the Lakers who advanced to the final. Top Scorers: (Clippers) Steve Cannon 16pts and (Lakers) Kieran O Neill 27pts.
Wooden Spoon Game: Thunder 44 – Bulls 49
A game to decide who would finish in last place in the league and be deemed the Summerleague Spooner’s. Once again, we had another tight battle on our hands and it went right down to the final two minutes before one team opened up a lead. Big Ger Murray used his size to hurt the Thunder inside early on. He was matched at the other end though as Aidan Campbell took advantage of his match-up and scored on a number of drives and shots to give the Thunder a one point lead over the Bulls at halftime. Billy Banda entered the game in the second half and tighten up things in the middle for the Thunder. Bulls shot the ball well in the second half through Conor McGoohan and Minde Bartasius. Connor Reid was in good form all game and continued to find a gap to the basket for the Thunder, but Bulls had too much in the last two minutes and won the game, meaning the Thunder were this years Spooner’s. Top Scorers: (Thunder) Connor Reid 20pts and (Bulls) Ger Murray 23pts.
The Final: Magic 45 – Lakers 48
We were down to the final two teams, the stands were jam-packed with spectators and the final was about to begin. Mark Cannon opened the scoring for the Magic with a drive to the basket. Lakers responded with Kieran O Neill and Padraig Barrett combining well. Magic’s Zak Balogun scored on a couple of post moves early on. Eduardas Diktonas attacked the basket any time he got the ball and John Cronin hit his open shots. The defensive player of the league Edvinas picked up a number of blocks and defensive rebounds for the Magic in the opening half, while Mark Cannon continued knocking down the mid range jump shot to keep it close. Lakers held a two-point lead at halftime.
Lakers started the second half on fire and made a huge run that eventually was the difference in the end. Padraig Barrett came up big here with steals and scores and rookie Andrew McGeever played great for the Lakers shooting them into an 11-point lead. Kieran O Neill increased this lead to fifteen points and Magic looked like they would get blown out. They never gave up though and tried their hardest to reduce the gap. Erik Dragunas came to life and knocked down three three-pointers, while Joe King kit one of his own. Mark Cannon stepped up with another big three and then stole to ball to run in a lay-up and suddenly the gap had been reduced to three points with the Lakers on the ropes but with only seconds left. However, the Lakers showed their resilience and held on to be named the Summerleague Champions for 2012 in an exciting final for all involved in the occasion. Top Scorers: (Magic) Mark Cannon 21pts and (Lakers) Kieran O Neill 22pts.
Our Summerleague Award winners are:
League Champions: Lakers
Runners Up: Magic
League MVP: Mark Cannon
Defensive Player: Edvinas Dapsys
Sportsman: Padhraic Coll
3-point Champion: Arnold Custodio
Knockout Champion: Zak Balogun
All Tournament Team (five players): Kieran O Neill, Mark Cannon, Paul McHugh, Steve Cannon and Ger Murray.