Two wins from two for All Stars

EJ Sligo All Stars made it two wins from two on Saturday night with a blistering 103-48 victory over LYIT at the Mercy College Gym.

he All Stars needed overtime the previous week to see off Tolka, but they ensured it was job done early this time.

Having started the first quarter with some scintillating play, the All Stars kept up the pace and intensity for the encounter, winning comprehensively.

Another MVP award for the outstanding Keith Jordan Junior followed what was an incredible display from the American.

Leading 36-16 at the end of the first quarter, the All Stars carried that momentum through to Q2, where they held a 60-21 lead at half-time.

LYIT were struggling to match the attacking potency of the Sligo side, who were leading 86-29 at the end of Q3, and finally finishing with a 103-48 win.

Head-coach Shane O’Meara praised the effort of his players who worked hard from start to finish for this victory.

“We set that goal at the start, we knew that they were without a couple of injured guys so we said regardless, we’re not playing the scoreboard, we’re playing by effort so we’ve a big cup game in two week’s time,” he told The Sligo Champion.

“We knew Malahide had had a really good game last week against LYIT so we knew we had to up things defensively so that was our goal really, our team defence and working on our rotations and in fairness to the guys, my whole thing is if I can see someone is not working hard enough in defence it’s an excuse to bring on a sub. Every one of them to a man busted a gut out there and really developed team chemistry. Keith’s 46 points really helped us out a wee bit as well.”

The Donegal side were somewhat wasteful, with plenty of possession going to waste with some off target shooting on the night.

But, defensively O’Meara’s side were on song, and made life even more difficult for LYIT.

“When you’ve Keith (Jordan), an enigma, 6ft 7, so quick, so long and so athletic.

“ And when you’ve Cian Lally also the same type of player but a smaller version, they disrupt so much.

“They take away passing angles and they take away passing lanes. It’s very difficult when you’ve the ball in your hand and you’ve guys as quick as that covering ground as well as they do they made some great res as well.

“I think Keith had five or six steals as well which is really high level stuff.

“Overall the guys worked really hard. Even when you’re up by that much the tendency sometimes is to take your foot off the gas and disrespect the game. We wanted to respect the game and keep working hard.”

It was another fantastic day for Keith Jordan Jr, who scored 46 points on top of 27 points the previous week.

O’Meara praised the performance of Jordan, who has been a superb signing for an All Stars team vying for league glory this year.

“He better have a big mantelpiece at home if he keeps going that way!” O’Meara said.

“I couldn’t speak highly enough of the guy. Probably the most talented player in the country, or one of, and the most humble, ego free guys to work with.

“Nothing is ever a problem. Long may it continue for Keith, he deserves it. His work ethic is through the roof.

“I was in here today with under 16s and Keith was in here working out for his midday work out before today’s game. It’s just showing professionalism.”

With the All Stars recording two wins in two games, and hoping for promotion, O’Meara wants his side to continue putting in the same types of performances every week.

He believes his players cannot afford to let their guard down.

“Well it’s going to be tight. We’ve had two teams there, we got over the line against Tolka, probably should have played the way we did tonight with that kind of intensity we probably would have had more comfortable win but it was no harm because it probably woke us up a little bit.” he said.

O’Meara continued: “Guys realised that we can’t afford to go at 75% against any team. We’ve a couple of tough away games coming up.

“That will be very interesting to see how we measure up away from home and can we put in the same types of performances. One thing I will be asking is our defence, regardless of what gym you’re in, your intensity and defence should never change.

“Offensive, sometimes shots don’t drop in away gyms but hopefully that will be for the other teams not for us.”

No fans were allowed at the opening league game against Tolka, but the All Stars were allowed 60% capacity on Saturday night, with the added atmosphere adding to a fantastic night.

“You can see the difference, people deserve this. I love all sports but the intensity in that game tonight and the entertainment value.

“It’s the number one sport for fans, you’re right there in front of it. When this place is full, the atmosphere is second to none. It’s ourselves and Tralee, we’re up there with Tralee in terms of our fanbase and support. We’re very thankful to them for their support.”

The All Stars will take on Grand Hotel Malahide away this weekend in the Cup.

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