REPORT/PHOTOS: Warriors Unbeaten Run Ends As They Are Hit for Six By Maree

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Ron Elksnis rises high to lay up a score. Photo by Liam Ryan

Alan Cantwell reports on the Men’s Super League 2021/2022 – Round 4 game where Warriors came up short in Galway…

NUIG Maree 97

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors 91

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors early season unbeaten run came to an end last night when they suffered their first defeat of the campaign going down 97-91 to NUIG Maree at the Kingfisher Arena in Galway.

In an entertaining opening quarter the sides went score for score early with Aaron Calixte, Ron Elksnis and Nikolo Roso trading baskets with Eoghan Rockall, Luka Krajlic and a double from Deondre Jackson saw the teams level at 12-12.

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Calixte and a three from Darragh O’Hanlon edged the visitors ahead midway through the quarter but Rockall and Jackson fired in from distance to put Maree 20-15 up.

Jackson was again on the mark from beyond the arc late on and when Paul Freeman opened his account the hosts led 25-23 at the first break.

Aaron Calixte under pressure under the Maree board. Photo by Liam Ryan

An early second quarter run from the Warriors with two from Brandon Cotton and one each from Daniel Jokubaitis and Elksnis saw them take the lead back.

It was short lived as Jeryn Lucas hit a three and Kraljic added to put the hosts 34-33 up. James Fernane entered the fray to hit a big three followed by another from O’Hanlon but a couple of costly turnovers by the Tralee side gifted easy scores to Kraljic, Jackson and Oriel Franch that had Maree back in front again.

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However, in the last action of the quarter Fernane had time to plant his feet and fire the Warriors back into a 44-42 lead at the long break.

The Warriors carried the momentum into the third and despite a three from John Burke for Maree, Elksnis, Roso and Calixte combined to push the visitors advantage out to 53-47.

Brandon Cotton gets a score away for Warriors. Photo by Liam Ryan

However, this would be the last time the Warriors would lead in the game as Maree stormed back into the lead with scores from Jackson, Franch, Tvrdic and Freeman.

O’Hanlon was again in range from distance and when Cotton followed suit the Warriors were back within one.

However a steal from Tvrdic saw him drive to the board and when Lucas had the final say in the quarter with a score from inside the Galway side took a 67-63 lead into the final quarter.

Ron Elksnis cut the gap with the opening score of the final quarter before Brandon Cotton fired in identical back to back threes but Maree sensed they had another big win in their sights as a double from Franch along with a three and another major score for Tvrdic saw their advantage grow to 6 midway through the quarter.

Brandon Cotton shoots a three. Photo by Liam Ryan

Krajlic and Jackson continued to disrupt the Warriors offence with steals and turnovers and converting them into scores to put it up to the visitors as the clock ticked down.

O’Hanlon hit his fourth three of the night and cut the lead to a single score, but foul trouble was now also the enemy for Warriors and when Jackson, Rockall and Franch hit 6 from eight from the line the die was cast.

Calixte managed two late scores and three from four from the line and the Warriors had all their three-point shooters in play in the dying moments, but it was too little too late as following their Cup win last week Maree bagged the precious League points by 97-91 in the end.

Top scorers: NUIG Maree: Deondre Jackson 26, Lovre Tvrdic 16, Eoghan Rockall 15

Garvey’s Tralee Warriors: Nikola Roso 18, Aaron Calixte 16, Darragh O’Hanlon 14

• Next up for the Garvey’s Tralee Warriors is a home tie with Bright DCU Saints at the Tralee Sport Complex on Saturday next with tip off at 7.30pm.

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