Queen’s Basketball Club

Queen’s Summer League 2012 – Week 1

There are a few signs that summer is approaching in Northern Ireland. The sky is bluer, birds are certainly more vocal and the rain warms up from being freezing to merely being tepid. For me, the most exciting sign that we’re heading to sunnier times is that the annual Queen’s Summer League tips off.

Sean Wynne continues his legacy in Summer League - Image from 2005

Friday 27th April saw a return to the court for many players who finished their season a month ago or more and are happy to be banded together for some craic and competition. The stakes are high. The possibility of winning a Summer League t-shirt and more importantly, the accompanying bragging rights, meant that some teams came to win on Friday. While everyone was eager to make a good first impression, two teams stood out as a force to be reckoned. Both the Bulls (yellow) and the Suns (light blue) came away with two wins and for now, can claim ‘undefeated status’. Sonics (red) struggled to field a team and suffered the consequences by chalking up 2 losses. They’ll have to look to drafting in some additional support if they’re going to get a win in week 2 [Ed- Rumour has it that Conor Johnston is in contract negotiations].

Highlight of Week 1
Superleague level refereeing from Paul Bullock

Lowlight of Week 1
Paddy McGaharan dressed like the Second Coming of Kobe

Summer League returns on Thursday night… check back for photos and Fiona Sullivan’s weekly highlight and lowlight.

 

BNI Premier League Playoff Update

This week Belfast Star became the first side to qualify for the BNI Final Four when they defeated Queen’s in the first two games of their playoff series, Michael McKillop came up big for Star with two good performances including hitting 34 points in the second game. Both games were scrappy affairs but Star finished stronger in the second halves to defeat their cross city rivals. It is a testament to how closely contested the premier league has been this year that a team that needed to win their last regular season game to make sure they were not in relegation danger have now advanced to finals day. Check out the highlights below from that game when Star hit a last second, buzzer beating, jumper to defeat North Star.

 

 

On Thursday UU Elks joined Star after Darryl Shazier hit two last second free throws to defeat LYIT by two points in an exciting game of basketball. LYIT had thought they had taken the game to overtime when Semaus Hickey scored a floater in the lane to tie the game with two seconds to go but UU ELks used a time out to advance the ball and Shazier curled off a staggered screen to catch the ball en route to the basket where he was fouled at the buzzer. He coolly sank two free throws and Elks booked their spot in the final four on 31st March.

The other two spots are still up for grabs. The Elks await the winner of the Kilkeel vs North Star series, which the Knights lead 1-0. Game two is in Derry tomorrow at 3pm. Ballymena shocked the Cavs in the 2 vs 7 match up taking game one on the road, game two is to be played in St Pat’s on Sunday night and should be an excellent game. Stay tuned to TCC on facebook and twitter over the weekend for updates!

Queen’s Summer League

It’s almost that time again; Queen’s Summer League! The weekly league has been going on for years and is a great opportunity for players from across all teams, male or female (over 18 only), to come together and play. It strives to find the right balance between competitive and fun. Who knows what will happen this year? Will you be there?

As always, there is expected to be a high level of players applying to participate in the weekly league. Book your place early to avoid missing out!

Summer League 2012 

The summer league will run every* Thursday for 8 weeks from 26 April-28 June at Queens PEC.

{* 17 & 24 May are unavailable due to exams}

Entrance fee: £35 Queens Basketball Club members | £55 non members

{non-refundable}

Closing date 31 March

Please forward your name, tel no and fee to address below:

{Cheques payable to Queen’s Basketball Club} 

Mary Matthews, 2 Ravensdene Crescent, Belfast, BT6 ODB

Tel. 028 90 648000

Mob: 07974914699

Email: marymatthews2@hotmail.com

Premier League Highlights

A few technical issues have meant we have been a bit behind on video content this past week but, with all the bugs in the system now exterminated, be prepared for more video than you can handle over the upcoming week!

 

To get things started we have a bumper double post, with Highlights from Blackstone @ Queens, and LYIT @ North Star. Blackstone travelled to the PEC needing a win and despite the fact it was 2nd vs 9th in the league table the boys from Ballymena managed to get the win 92-80. (Guess who predicted that one!) Check out the video highlights below and keep an eye peeled for Sasha Prymus’ follow dunk and a few nice moves by Gareth Devlin of Queens and Ballymena’s Marty McDonald.

 

 

 

 

The second video features highlights from LYIT at North Star. North Star led from the start in this one and used their full bench to keep fresh legs on the court and LYIT on the back foot, the Derry side ran out winners 78-60. Check out Kevin Stanleys tough right hand reverse finish and stay tuned to TCC.

Still to come in the next few days: highlights of Queens @ Star, Kilkeel @ LYIT, Cavs @ Elks (second game) and North Star @ Ballymena.

 

 

 

 

 

BNI Premier League – Week 17 Preview

Only two weeks to go now and things are starting to shape up in the BNI Premier League. The Elks look like they have the league title wrapped up and the Andytown Tigers have been relegated to Division one. However places 2-9 are still up for grabs and there is a lot to play for with places 2-4 getting home court advantage in the playoffs and the 9th place team going into a relegation playoff with the runners up in Division one. This week we have three games were its a team battling for a top four place versus a team that’s trying to ensure that they don’t end up in the relegation playoff spot, big games in a big week in the BNI Premier League!

Are the Elks the League winners? Places 2-9 still up for grabs!

Are the Elks the League winners? Places 2-9 still up for grabs!

Wednesday 29th Feb

Dungannon Cavaliers @ Ulster Elks

Potential title decider! After North Star’s win over the Cavs in week 16 it looks like the Elks are this seasons league champions. The only chance of anyone else winning the title will be if the Cavs can defeat the Elks here by more than 5 points and then go 3-0 in their remaining games and hope the Elks also lose away at Andytown. A tall order but nothing is impossible and the Cavs will be doing what they can to make this season go down to the wire.

These sides met last week and as predicted it was a high scoring affair with the Elks coming out on top 97-92. Another high scoring game expected and I think the Cavs might even edge it as I can’t see them losing three games in a row but as the Elks only have to lose by less than 5 to lift the title I think they will be able to keep it close enough to be league champions by 10pm on Wednesday night.

Line: Elks +0.5

 

Can Queens break a run of poor results vs Star on Wednesday?

Wednesday 29th Feb

Queens @ Belfast Star

Local Belfast derby game as two of the biggest clubs in NI go at it in St Mals on Wednesday night. Queens are fighting to stay in the top four while Star want to make sure they are out of the danger zone and solidify a playoff spot.

Queens are in second place in the league but have played a game more than most of the other clubs chasing a top four spot. Their recent form has been poor losing three out of their last four games but they are up against an inconsistent Star side. Former Queens standout Rob McMurran will be out to prove a point although coach McDade says that he is nothing for Queens to worry about and is only a shadow of his former self. A tough game to call (Like most in the premier league this season!) which could easily go either way, I’ll give the slight edge to Star as they have more to play for in avoiding relegation and have the home court advantage.

Line:  Star -3.5

 

Thursday 1st March

Kilkeel Knights @ LYIT

The second game that has a team looking to secure a top four finish up against a squad looking at making sure they feature in the playoffs and avoid a relegation playoff. It will be a tough midweek game for the Knights with a long drive to Letterkenny and when the sides met in Kilkeel the Knights only squeaked out a 3 point win. LYIT are coming off a loss away to North Star and a defeat to Kilcar in the North West cup semi-final but will be motivated by the need to secure a playoff spot and reassured by the fact that they should have a full squad for the game.

LYIT have the size to cope with Kilkeel and will be favoured on their home court, Kilkeel will have to hope that they are hitting from deep in this one to have a good chance of getting a W but I expect LYIT to pull out the performance they need.

Line: LYIT -8.5

 

Saturday 3rd Feb

Ulster Elks @ Andytown Tigers

By the time this game is played it could be meaningless with the Elks having secured top spot and the Tigers relegated in bottom place. However if the Elks lose out on Wednesday to the Cavs then the pressure will be on them to pick up a win here and secure the league title. The Tigers will be a more dangerous team than their bottom placed ranking would have them appear. They will have nothing to lose going into the game and have actually been in quite good form in recent weeks, picking up some notable wins and losing out some very close games. In saying that the last meeting between these sides had the Elks win by a huge 51 point margin and that does not bode well for the Tigers even in light of their recent improved form. Elks have to be the favourites for this first vs bottom match-up.

Line: Tigers: +15.5

 

Sunday 4th  Feb

Down Tropics @ Dungannon Cavilers

The Down Tropics were in great form after Christmas but have nose dived recently losing three games on the bounce and their chances of a top four finish are looking in trouble. The Tropics have a record of 8-7 but as they forfeited a game they will have a point less than any team with the same record and this could be vital in a league table which is so close. The Cavs come into this game having played the Elks twice in a week and a tough trip away to North Star. The league title could well be beyond them by the time this game comes around but they will be looking for a win to try and make sure they finish in the top four as home court will be vital for them in the playoffs.

I can see this be a high scoring game with Clems and Calo proving hard for the Cavs to stop but Brian Whann will have to be at his best defensively when matched up with Simonas Bastakys. The Tropics are hurt by the loss of Zane Bloy and will be up against it away to the Cavs.

Line: Cavs -6.5

 

Sunday 4th  Feb

Michael Brennan will be looking to continue his good recent form versus Ballymena on Sunday.

North Star@ Ballymena Blackstone

The third game featuring a team looking to secure a playoff berth going against a team going for a top four finish. North Star have used their excellent home form (7-0) to propel themselves up to fourth in the table. Despite the excellent home form North Star have been extremely poor on their travels (1-7) and this will be their last chance to pick up an away win. They are up against an in form Ballymena Blackstone who have won three in a row and will be confident of extending their in streak. The form of Hilis and McNicholl has been key to the Ballymena revival. They both missed chunks of the first half of the season due to injury and GAA duties but their return has taken some of the pressure off Murray and McDonald and allowed Blackstone to function much more efficiently as a team.

Michael Brennan has been in excellent form for North Star in the past two games, defensively doing excellent work versus the taller Ger Murray of LYIT and Simonas Bastakys of Dungannon and adding double digits scoring numbers on offense. His size gives North Star a different dimension that they have lacked in some away games this season and this one is expected to be a close and exciting game. Blackstone have to get the line due to North Star’s poor away form but it’s another game that’s hard to call.

Line: Ballymena Blackstone -3.5

 

 

BNI Premier League – Week 15 Preview

A few days late this week but we all know that good things come to those who wait! It’s a busy week in the premier league with two “catch-up” games being played. Remember we are constantly looking for updates from games along with photos/video/audio. If you have any media please get in touch!


Wednesday 15th Feb

Kilkeel Kinghts @ Belfast Star

One of the first posts on TCC was intended to feature this match-up however some lay-up line madness resulted in a smashed backboard and the game being put back to week 15. After a great start to the season the Knights are struggling with three double figure losses in a row. They travel to St Mals to face a team high on confidence after their comfortable victory over LYIT and the superleage squad’s epic win vs Killester in the past week. The Knights defeated Star by 17 early in the season but at home Star always have a full bench and this will be a different game.

Star will be hoping to a similar type of game to their win over LYIT when coach McGratten used his deep bench to ensure that there were always fresh legs on the court and that they will put constant pressure on the knights with an up-tempo style. The Knights will have a size advantage but Star are well used to playing undersized and I can’t see them losing this one.

Line: Belfast Star -6.5

 

 

Thursday 16th Feb

Queens Hornets @ LYIT

Queens’ away form has been indifferent since the Christmas break, beating  league leaders the Ulster Elks away but also losing heavily to North Star and Dungannon. Letterkenny is the furthest they will have to travel and as it’s on a week night it makes it an even tougher task for the Hornets. A likely departure time of 5pm from Belfast will make it hard for some to get out of work (and for the students to get out of bed) so it is possible that they will travel with a weakened squad.

LYIT will be out for revenge after suffering a 20 point loss to the Hornets earlier in the season and will be looking to wipe away any lingering bad taste from the heavy defeat to Star last week. LYIT are 5-2 after a loss this season and also 5-2 at home so they have to be favourites despite Queen’s higher position in the table and the previous result. However, despite LYIT being favourites, Queens have the size to cope with LYIT’s Ger Murray and they will keep it close as long as LYIT don’t get too many open looks from three against the Hornet’s 2-3 zone. Seamus Hickey will also be a welcome return to the Donegal side and it could be a long drive back to Belfast for the students!

Line: LYIT: -4.5

 

Elks will be hoping that Matt McColgan will return from injury for the huge game with Dungannon

Thursday 16th Feb

Dungannon Cavilers @ Ulster Elks

The biggest game of the week and possibly season as, in my opinion, the Cavillers are the only team that can now stop the Elks winning the league. The Elks stand alone as the only team with 3 losses (the Cavs have 4 and the Hornets have 5) and a win here will put them 2 games ahead of all other teams with only a few games left to play.

This is the first of 2 meetings between these sides in the upcoming weeks with both games to be played at Jordanstown due to a double booking in Dungannon earlier in the season. Should the Cavs go 2-0 in this mini-series then they will be in the driving seat, a 1-1 split leaves the Elks still in control and a 2-0 record for the Elks would see them wrap up the top spot in the league. The Elks have an obvious advantage playing both games at home but the Cavs are a talented team which have the size to cause serious problems for the Elks.

This is likely to be a high scoring game, both teams play at a high pace and I expect the Cavs to struggle to contain the Elks dribble penetration whilst the Elks will have serious problems with the Cavs considerable size advantage. The Cavs don’t necessarily look inside as an initial option on offense but have the green light to shoot a lot of threes with the safety night of having one of the league’s best offensive rebounders in Simonas Bastakys. They key here will be Matt McColgan who is expected to still be out with a back injury. If he is missing I think that the Cavs will use their size to get the win they need to make it an exciting finish to the title race.

Line: Elks: +2.5

 

Saturday 18th  Feb

North Star @ Andytown Tigers

This is a “must win” for the Tigers. With only 4 games remaining this is the Tigers best chance at picking up another ‘W’ to put pressure on Blackstone. After this game the Tigers have two tough away games at Kilkeel and Dungannon and a home game versus the league leaders UU Elks. North Star have a terrible away record having only picked up one win away from Derry all year, the first game of the season versus the Tropics, and the Tigers had a 10 point lead going into the fourth quarter when the sides last met. This is also a big game for North Star who will have 4 games in the space of 8 days and back to back games this weekend. Given the closeness of the league by Sunday night North Star could either be in line for a top four playoff berth or battling to stay out of the relegation spots.

Tigers struggle to cope with North Star’s two scoring guards, Kevin Stanley and Daryl Harkin, but the Derry side have trouble with their defense on the road and the Tigers will be confident after their win in La Salle versus Star. Another close one to be expected with the Tigers having a good chance of picking up a win that they desperately need.

Line: Tigers -3.5

 

Sunday 19th Feb

Kilkeel Knights @ Dungannon Cavilers

The Kilkeel Kinghts will have their hands full dealing with Mantas Mac on Sunday

This is the battle for Litunianian bragging rights as the premier leagues two all-Lithuinian teams go at it in the Dungannon Lesiure centre. Dungannon already picked up a win earlier in the season away at Kilkeel and will be confident that they can get a repeat result at home as they chase the Elks at the top of the league. Kilkeel are in a run of poor results but the derby atmosphere of playing the other Lituainian team should have them in a rejuvenated mood for the game.

Both teams have size and the Knights can cope with the Cav’s Simonas Bastakys better than most but Mantas Mac will pose problems for Kilkeel who will have to make sure and keep Arturas Kisielius out of foul trouble as they lack depth at the guard spots. With the league title on the line I can’t see the Cavs losing focus for this one and think at home will be too strong for the Knights.

Line: Dungannon Cavilers – 8.5

 

Sunday 19th Feb

Down Tropics @ North Star

This is a tough game to call for a number of reasons. When the sides met in the first week of the season it was a much different Tropics side that North Star faced, North Star have an excellent home record but will be coming off an away game to Andytown on the Saturday evening and the Tropics have been erratic to say the least, winning three in a row before losing at home to Ballymena and following that up with a heavy loss away to the Elks.

This one could come down to the role players as both teams rely on a pair of perimeter players for the majority of their points. If Celms and Calo are matched by Harkin and Stanley then it will be a battle between the likes of Paul McGuinness and Hugh Barbour going up against Daryl Downey and Brian Whann.  As stated this one is almost too close to call and could easily go either way but ill give North Star the slight edge due to their excellent home form and deeper bench (Interesting statistic – seven different North Star players have at least two three pointers over the past three games.)

Line: North Star -0.5

 

Sunday 19th Feb

Belfast Star @ Ballymena Blackstone

The last game in a busy week in the BNI premier league sees Belfast Star head down the M2 to take on Blackstone. It’s only one of 2 home games left for Ballymena and if they are to make it into the playoff spots they will need a win here. After having trouble scoring earlier in the season Blackstone have averaged 82 points per game over the past four games and coach McKee feels that they are play much better basketball and are back at the level many expected them to be at all season. That does not bode well for Star as St Pat’s is a tough place to get a win even when Ballymena aren’t at their best.

Both teams have talent and although Star would have a deeper bench Blackstone’s home court advantage and recent improved form make them slight favourites.

Line: Ballymena Blackstone +2.5

 

 

 

 

Queen’s vs Elks: Junior Highlights

Queen’s and the Elks met on Saturday when both the U14 and U16 teams competed in the Orchard, Stranmillis  College. The U14 game was a nail-biter and went right down to the wire. Louisa Donnelly’s side (Queen’s U14) fell short in the end and Anna Maguire lead the Elks to a 2-point victory. The U16 game was a different story; Queen’s were propelled by a strong performance from forward Claire McGregor (Queen’s U16A) and came away with the win.

U14:   Ulster Elks 31  Queen’s 29

U16:   Ulster Elks 24  Queen’s 42

 

Click here for more results and the league table for U16A or U14.

If you would like to have your team result’s or highlighs featured on The Courtside Collective, get in touch! We are open to every team around NI.

Women’s league action

A-Town Tigers @ Lisburn / Wednesday 8th February

Lisburn currently boast a seasoned and talented squad with five players on the Ulster Rockets, Irish women’s superleague panel. Sinead Smye and Susie Dick were in form, knocking down long-range shots early. Helena Fairburn contributed with rebounding and was the backbone of the front-court defense for Lisburn. Seanna Moyes and the relentless Mairead Cooper played key roles in developing Lisburn’s massive lead early in the game.

Tigers, conversely, are comprised of a much younger and less experienced team. Veteran Joanne O’Neill lead the visiting team throughout the game showing great persistence and determination despite being blown-out by the league leaders. Equally as inspiring was the tenacious Toni Kane, who helped to keep the Tigers’ spirits alive with full-court pressure defence. The game was never close but Tigers did not let up the entire 40-minutes and should be credited for the efforts.

Final Score: Lisburn 80 – A-Town Tigers 36

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UU Elks @ Queen’s / Thursday 9th February

 

 

These two teams have had tough seasons in a small-league consisting of 5 teams. Queen’s & Elks have struggled to pick up a win between them against any of the top three teams in the league (Lisburn, Tyrone Towers and QUB).

Elks boast Brid O’Hagan, a terrific athletic point guard who can score the ball while Queen’s rely heavily on the leadership of Orla O’Neil, a well-experienced point guard with excellent vision of the floor and understanding of the game. Queen’s, however, present a deeper front-court, with forwards Charlie Dooley and Rosie Kelly at the power forward and centre positions. The lack of depth on the Elks’ side is perhaps the most significant problem for coach Aodhán Hickey.

As expected, the game went right down to the wire and with a tied score at the end of regulation, both teams would need to endure for five minutes of overtime. A steal of an errant inbounds pass in Elks’ backcourt, presented O’Neill with an opportunity for an open three-point shot. A clutch score put Queen’s up 3 points with time winding down on the game-clock. O’Hagan played her part in keeping the hopes alive for the visiting team, knocking down two key freethrows but it wasn’t enough for the struggling Elks team.

Final Score: Queen’s 55 – UU Elks 54

 

 

Top play: Ash Murray spins

Aisling Murray is becoming a well-known name in basketball across Ireland, especially since the Ulster Rockets entered the Irish women’s superleague this season. She is a lightning quick guard (the female equivalent to Stephen Dawson, some say) who is continuing to develop her skill-set. A tremendous athlete who loves to compete, Aisling is one of the most exciting female players to watch in the country.

In this play, Murray intercepts a pass and converts the steal into an impressive coast-to-coast, cross-over, spin-move, managing to complete the play despite being contested by another stand-out guard, Orla O’Neill.

 

 

 

 Don’t forget to check out Matt McColgan’s rim-rocking, off-the-glass, alley-oop.

 What’s your thoughts? Got something better? Remember, The Courtside Collective are interested in all games across both the Senior and Junior leagues.

Get in touch with us at team@thecourtsidecollective.com if you would like us to feature your team.