North Star Summer League

The Queen’s Summer League isn’t the only show in town these days, North Star are hosting their seventh annual Summer League this year while Letterkenny have their own Summer League which is now in its second year. TCC will be on top of all the action with weekly updates from each league.

North Star began their summer league on Saturday with 42 players spread over 6 teams and day one lived up to the hype with buzzer beaters, comebacks,  half-court shots, ejections and some huge dunks! Ok, so there wasn’t any huge dunks but everything else is true! Check out the week one recap below:

North Star Summer League – Week 1 

Lakers 34-33 Celtics

Summer League got off to a great start with a game featuring a 14 point comeback and several late lead changes. The Celtics were in control early on and raced out to a double digit lead with Daryl Harkin leading the way with 8 first half points. Paul McGuinness and Summer League rookie Malachai McCourt got the Lakers back into it with McGuinness doing his work under the boards while McCourt was kocking down long range jumpers. The second half was a classic back and forth battle with both teams exchanging the lead multiple times. Gary Campbell was in form for the Lakers pulling up for threes but after a quiet first half Emmett Harkin came alive and with a minute remaining it looked like the Summer League veteran had sealed the game for the Celtics. However the Lakers were not to be denied, Jonathan McIntyre (making his return to the hardwood reinforced plastic) for the first time since back surgery, hit a huge three pointer before Gareth McKinney dropped a baseline jumper to give the Lakers a one point lead with only seconds remaining. The Celtics went to the standard 1-4 late game set but Daryl Harkin lost his handle and couldn’t get a shot off and the Lakers squeaked out the one point victory.

Gary Campbell was hitting from deep on Saturday

Heat 36 – 31 Lakers

The Lakers had a dreaded “back to back” in week one and playing the Heat was always going to be tough after the energy expended in the comeback win versus the Celtics. The Heat have possibly the best one-five combination in the league with  Kevin Stanley and James Potts and this combo allowed the Heat to take an early lead in this one and maintain it throughout. The Heat were up by 11 at the half but again the Lakers showed their fighting spirit and managed to cut the lead to 3 points late on, Johnny McIntyre was shaking off the rust play by play and had 10 points but back to back baskets by Stanley ensured that the Heat were never in any real danger as they went on to win 36-31.

Knicks 43- 30 Heat

With the potential for points production at every spot on their roster the Knicks are perhaps the deepest team in the Summer League . This depth was the key to their win over the Heat with four players chipping in with between 7-15 points. Proving age ain’t nothing but a number Todd Gfeller led the way with 15 points as the Heat struggled to contain the beguiling American. Stanley once again led the Heat in scoring with points and was helped by Conor Friel chipping in 12 but it wasn’t to be enough as the Knicks won comfortably enough.

 Spurs 29  – 22 Knicks

After a poor start to the game the Spurs took control of this one early in the second half. Despite the Spurs size advantage the Knicks rebounded well and Johnny Lyons was scoring well from the post but excellent team defense and a well balanced offense allowed the Spurs to maintain their lead during the last few minutes despite a frantic comeback attempt by the Knicks. Niall McDermott (Yes, that’s me!) led the Spurs with 9 points followed by 7 points for Peter Wallace and 6 apiece from Aaron Brown and Dave McCafferty.

Kevin Stanley was in fine form on Saturday - Top scoring in both of his games.

Celtics 42 – 30 Mavs

Well rested after their disappointing defeat to the Lakers in game one the Celtics were up for this one and again raced into an early lead. Wary of the Lakers comeback in game one they had learnt from their mistakes and maintained their intensity on both ends to hold off the Mavs. John Ward was scoring well for the Mavs  but they had no answer for Daryl Harkin who ended up with 15 points.

Mavs 47 – 35 Spurs

The last game of the day presented a chance for the Suprs to be the only team to go 2-0 and be early league leaders. The Mavs had other ideas and produced a gritty display to pull out a win and leave every team with a one and one record after day one. John Ward led all scorers with 15 points and young Caolan Harrigan had an impressive display for the mavs with 13 points. I had an incredible 13 points for the Spurs and Micky Brennan decided to show up on offense pouring in 12 points but, alas, it wasn’t enough!


Gareth McKinney after hitting the basket to win the game for the Lake-show!





Niall is the Co-Founder of the Courtside Collective and . He was one of the founding members of North Star in 2002. He has coached at a variety of levels from kids to senior men's teams. He is currently coach of the LYIT National League team and women's college team.

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