Trinity Men’s Basketball team lost a thrilling encounter with Glasnevin on Monday night, losing the back-and-forth contest by only three points, 68-65.
Glasnevin raced into a quick lead, putting themselves 9-2 up inside the opening few minutes, and continued to stretch their opposition with a series of fast-break scores. However, Trinity fought back admirably, and ended the first quarter down by three, with the score at 15-12 to the visitors.
The start of the second quarter saw Trinity continue their good attacking play, scoring 7 unanswered points – something they would go on to do twice more in the game – to lead 19-15 midway through the quarter. Yet Glasnevin came streaming back, with their attacks being expertly co-ordinated by player-coach Bernard Walsh, which saw the away side enter half-time once again in the lead.
Glasnevin had clearly been tiring before the break, with Trinity growing into the game all the time and appearing the dominant side for much of the latter half of the second quarter. However, half-time clearly came at the right time for the opposition, with a rejuvenated Glasnevin coming out strong at the start of the third quarter and scoring instantly – a lightning fast attack catching Trinity off-guard within five seconds of the restart.
Glasnevin continued to push their opponents, extending their lead to 11 points at one stage, thanks in large part to 8 straight points, resulting in a 51-39 advantage.
Trinity, though, refused to roll over, Robbie Fidgeon Kavanagh and Manus Darby leading the comeback effort, causing the Glasnevin defence all sorts of issues with their movement, both drawing fouls whilst scoring, with Darby netting his free-throw for a three-point play. Kavanagh continued to impress, scoring a 3-pointer, followed by a lay-up right on the buzzer to send Trinity into the final quarter trailing by only five points, 46-51.
Yet another 3-pointer from Kavanagh reduced the deficit to just two points in an immensely tense final quarter, and with only 90 seconds left on the clock Trinity levelled up the scores at 57 apiece. The rest of the game was played at an immense pace, with some ill-discipline from Trinity allowing Glasnevin a 3-point play and a series of free-throws to once again lead, this time by 6 points.
A time-out brought a change in tactics, with Trinity seemingly deliberately fouling Glasnevin players to stop the clock, in the hope that missed free-throws would allow them enough time to mount one last comeback. It was a tactic that seemed to pay dividends, with Trinity reducing the arrears to just three points and, with just seconds remaining, it was only a missed three-point attempt that meant they failed to force overtime.
The story of the game was missed opportunities, with both sides being wasteful with their shooting at times. However, it was Glasnevin’s quick reactions, gobbling up rebounds at every opportunity, that proved the difference, with man-of-the-match Kavanagh admitting after the game that the team had suffered from not training for a month over the Christmas break, as well as losing a series of talented Erasmus students.
Still, there are many positives for Trinity to take from the game, not least the impressive performance from rookie Louis Siebenaler, whose free-throw shooting was unmatched by anyone on either team.
Trinity return to action next Monday with a home tie against Eanna Basketball Club.
Additional reporting by Michael Foley