Report courtsey of BI – Shane Whelan

Garvey’s lose out in close encounter
CHM Ballon claimed victory over Team Garveys St Mary’s with an excellent 71-63 in the Senior Men’s Cup Final. Aurimas Statkus secured the games’ MVP award, helping his side over the line against a resilient Garveys side.
The opening exchanges were a battle of the boards as both sides used their height inside, Garvey’s taking a 6-4 lead. There was little to separate the sides throughout the first period, a fact reflected by the 9-9 score line at the halfway point in the quarter.  Ballon hit two consecutive three pointers to give them a four point lead, but Garvey’ s responded quickly in a game that appeared destined to go to the wire. Mazvydas Cepliauskas and Mindaugas Tamuskauskas helped Ballon establish a first quarter lead of 21-20.

The second quarter saw Garvey’s take the lead, thanks to the work of Declan Wall and Dan Griffin. Aurimas Statkus was looking like the games standout player, and quickly responded with three to square the game. Ballon took the lead with another three from Mazvydas Cepliauskas. John Galvin was drawing fouls from the Ballon defence, and the duel developing between him and Aurimas Statkus was an intriguing one. Statkus got his thirteenth point of the game to give Ballon a three point lead. John Teahan hit a three inside the final minute for Garveys. Ballon netted just before the buzzer to lead (34-31) at half time.
Ballon extended the lead early in the second half – some industrious play from 5 helping them to a seven point lead, the biggest of the game so far. John Teahan hit back with three for Garveys followed quickly by John Galvin. Again the gap was at a single point, two well matched teams battling for supremacy.
It was Ballon’s time to turn the screw now, as they re-established a six point lead- Aurimus Statkus again showing his class. Tamasauskas hit three to give Ballon an eight point lead with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Giedrius Traskauskas scored from outside for Ballon, which prompted an instant riposte from the impressive Galvin. Ballon took a seven point advantage into the final quarter of the game( 52-45).
The beginning of the fourth quarter, and it was beginning to look like Ballon’s night. Garveys were finding it increasingly difficult to get within range, and Ballon extended the lead to twelve thanks to some impeccable long distance shooting. Ballon brought a partisan crowd to this final, and will be grateful for their relentless support and cajoling of referees. Garveys were determined not to give in and brought themselves to within eight through Brian Clernon. Garveys worked the ball brilliantly to find Galvin in space and to bring it to five. Ballon were failing to control the game and allowing Garveys to pile on the pressure. With ninety seconds to play, Ballon extended the lead to seven, and held on for victory, much to the delight of their loyal supporters. Final score (71-63)

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