Trinity Men’s Basketball team suffered a heavy loss in controversial circumstances on Friday night as they lost 74-49 to Leixlip Zalgiris in Dublin Men’s Basketball Division 3. Trinity, who currently sit mid-table in the division, were overcome by a physical Leixlip side that dominated many periods of the game.
The game began in strange circumstances as player-coach Luke Rock was told by a member of the Trinity Sport staff that the court was booked by another club that night and that they were not in the system. The match’s future was cast into doubt until the member of staff in question spoke to Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC) and announced that the fixture would take place. Trinity Men’s Basketball maintained that they had booked all games at the start of the year and that this scenario must have been caused by a clerical error.
The result of this debacle was the away team being kept in the lobby until ten minutes before throw-in and both teams only having about five minutes to perform a warm-up. This lack of preparation affected both teams but the Leixlip outfit appeared to shake it off quicker and they enjoyed a blistering start to the game.
The home side fell behind early on, trailing 12-2 halfway through the first quarter having missed several scoring opportunities. Trinity failed to get enough players back on defence and struggled with offensive and defensive rebounds against a more physical and experienced Leixlip team.
Zalgiris also enjoyed quite the travelling support with an air horn and raucous shouting creating a hostile atmosphere in the Trinity Sports Hall. It seems the atmosphere had an effect on the young team as Trinity missed some easy layups early on and failed to convert many of their free-throws. At the end of the first quarter it stood 20-10 in favour of the away team.
The second quarter saw more of the same, but Trinity kept up with the away side as the gap remained around ten points. Trinity continued to struggle with defensive rebounds and No. 13 A. Zvirblis had a great quarter for the visiting side as he was the creative force in Leixlip’s offensive play, scoring some spectacular hoops and managing to draw fouls from the home side.
In the third quarter, the game began to slip from Trinity’s grasp as the gap grew to 23 points. There were some heated moments between the two sides, due to perhaps Trinity’s frustration and the aggressive nature of Leixlip’s play. It appeared that concentration was slipping, as even when defensive rebounds were won, they were often quickly given away through bad passing and lack of communication.
The final quarter was racked by a multitude of fouls as the home side’s frustration grew and the game finished with them trailing Leixlip Zalgiris by 25 points.
After the game, Player-Coach Luke Rock said: “We played the best team in the league last week and won by 25 points, lost today by a similar margin to the second-best team, this is quite reflective of our season. When we win, we win as a team and we definitely lost as a team today.”
When asked if the disruption to their warm up had affected their performance, Rock said: “It was certainly very frustrating, excluding the fact that we didn’t get onto the court until five minutes before kick-off, it was the fact that when we were dealing with Trinity Sport, even though we supply them will all our fixtures at the start of the year, they wouldn’t even admit to us that the court was double booked. They claimed that we weren’t in their system.”
Trinity will face UCD Marian Basketball in Marian College, Ballsbridge on January 8 at 8.45 for their next Division 3 game.