Fliers take Queen’s to the wire

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

NEWRY U14s travelled to Queens to try and rack up their first win of the season. It was a tight and exciting game that went right to the wire.
Newry got off to a good start and looked aggressive in their style of play. Ross Fegan was attacking from the point, cutting into the Queens' defence, while Matthew Monroe was eager to get the ball and made himself some space for two baskets to put Newry in front. On defence, Newry were solid in the middle of the quay. Tom Magill was in dominant form, pulling down rebounds and Kaylem McShane was stepping in on the Queen's drives into the basket. Luke Gachette finished the scoring in the first quarter, leaving Newry with and early 6-2 lead.
The border side struggled in the second quarter; MVP Conor Eastwood was on fine form and racked up nine of Queens 11 points while Newry's only answer came from Eoin Byrne. The score didn't reflect the effort that they put into the game. Connor Crawley and Niall Tryon were claiming rebounds on both sides of the court but struggled to finish the offensive rebounds. Turnovers were also an issue with pressure constantly applied on the ball and any delay in passing getting punished with fast break and clinical finishing by Queens. Newry entered the half down eight to 15.
In the final half Newry's youngest squad fell into form and played their best basketball of the season. Tom Magill and Conor Crawley really stood out under the baskets. The high work rate continued but this time they started reaping rewards with offensive rebounds and finally getting their shots to drop. On the defensive end they kept Queens out, both on help plays on the man defense and also by boxing out and claiming any rebounds that came close.
At the top of the quay the guards showed real hustle and a hunger that isn't always visible in the young fliers. Ross Fegan and Conor Mathers continued to attack and pierce into the Queens offense, and dish the ball to the waiting big men. Eoin Byrne deserves a special mention for diving at every loose ball that came his way and getting rewarded with several steals and saves. This kind of play helped Newry to take the lead early in the fourth quarter for the first time in the game.
Newry continued to look dominant in the final minutes but with a slim lead of a single point it was hard to sit comfortably. With 40 seconds left on the clock, Newry had to dig deep to hold off a final push from Queens.
The defence, that had stood so strong for the entire half, still stood steady, but a drive from Queens MVP Conor Eastwoods was the deciding factor. Once around his man, Tom Magill came across on the help defense but the small guard made a spin dribble move and fade away shot that wouldn't have been out of place in an international game. And Newry could only look on in horror as it went in. The visitors had time for one last offense, but it wasn't to be and Queens took the victory by a single point.
Newry players and scorers: Tom Magill (4),
Conor Crawley (6),
Matthew Munroe (4).
Conor Mathers (3),
Luke Gachette (2),
Niall Traynor (2),
Eoin Byrne (2), Danial O'Shea,
Ross Fegan,
Ben O'Kane,
Kaylem McShane and
Nathan Reavey.

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