Belfast Star are currently amidst one of the worst seasons in the club’s history (2 wins -15 losses), which is somewhat evident in the diminishing attendance figures during home fixtures in the La Salle Sports Complex. However, the faithful few that remain loyal to Northern Ireland’s only remaining Irish men’s Superleague team were rewarded with 25% more basketball than what they paid for and 100% better basketball than what they have been used to this season.
Early on it looked as if Killester were going to show no mercy on the last placed team in the Northern Conference. The Dublin side were hot early and went up 25-5 at one point in the first quarter. The undersized Star team could not handle Jermaine Turner in and around the basket, who had at least three dunks in the first half [Editor: the victims will not be named]. Although Star came back fighting in the second quarter, they were still in for a tough night ahead, entering the second half down 14 points.
What happened after that is mostly a blur. I remember feeling (regardless of what the scoreboard showed) that Killester were in control of the game. Then Belfast Star came alive: Michael McKillop knocked down a three, Stephen Dawson picked up his defensive intensity and Cummins looked like he was starting to feel it on the offensive end. The game was all square when Josh Johnson tied it up with around 20-seconds remaining. Killester looked to Turner for the opportunity to win the game but losing the ball on the way to the basket, McKillop ended up with a last-second heave from half-court to end regulation.
Then came an extra period of 5-minutes. Turner continued to dominate and finished a tough shot under the basket to put Killester up 2 points. Star would look to Scottie Summersgill and Paul Cummins in a pick & roll at the top of the key for the final shot. Summersgill ended up dishing off to Johnson (Belfast Star’s current US import) but Turner was able to recover and block the shot. There was only a few seconds left and Killester’s Robbie Clarke hustled to keep the play alive and the game-clock running, which would have ended the contest in Killester’s favour. The whistle blew a split second (or 10 split-seconds) before the buzzer, as Clarke failed to keep the ball in play (or did he?).
The referees decided to allocate 1-second to the game-clock. That was all Belfast Star needed. Coach Fulton drew up a play for Cummins in a time-out with Ferghal Toner to inbound. Killester locked down Cummins and Toner was forced to throw a long overarm pass to Summersgill on the weak-side. Off one-foot, Scottie sank the jumper from the corner to send the game into the second period of overtime with a score of 101-101.
[audio:http://thecourtsidecollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Scottie-talks-about-the-shot.mp3|titles=Buzzer beater breakdown with Scottie Summersgill]
Cummins stepped up with a step-back three to help the campaign early in the period while Toner’s fast-break lay-up solidified the home team’s lead. However, after a missed freethrow, Michael Westbrooks came up with an impressive shot to keep the game within reach. Killester were forced to send Dawson to the freethrow line, he was able to convert and put Belfast Star up 3-points with less than 8 seconds remaining. Westbrooks’ last second three-point effort fell short and Belfast Star finished on top – final Score: 112-109.
|Belfast Star :||Paul Cummins 29; Scottie Summersgill 22; Josh Johnson 21|
|Killester :||Jermaine Turner 45; Eoin Chubb 15; Kieran O’Brien 12|