Blackstone Struggle against Queens Ulster Premier League

THE BLACKSTONE showed something of their premiership form in the opening quarter where they dominated and took an early six point lead which they retained to the end of the quarter.

Martin McDonald was instrumental in this performance with a creditable 13 points in a 20 points to 15 lead.

The speedy guard worked his magic from transition with his drive and kick play to open Barry McCormick and Michael Murray for scores in the corner and from the high post respectively.

The rest was McDonald ‘s own scoring with three 3 pointers coming off screens and then from short and long range as he penetrated the key. Queens were struggling against a very solid back court zone from the Blackstone that gave them nothing under the basket.

They found little space inside and struggled from the perimeter to find their range with a series of outside shooting opportunities.

The second quarter saw the Blackstone maintain their lead for 6 minutes as they matched Queens basket for basket and then three turnovers in transition cost the home team their lead at 36 – 38. This gave the visitors some momentum to push on and they extended the gap to 38 – 44 by the half time turn around.

The second quarter saw them tie up McDonald slowing his scoring rate but the Blackstone went to McCormick for a three pointer and 4 points from Dean Hillis from lay ups. Michael Murray found two scores at the top of the key as his man could not match him for shooting speed and the big forward obliged by slotting the long range scores. Turn overs are crucial in any game and with three on the trot for the Blackstone the balance of the game swung in Queens’ favour to give them the lead at the half.

In the third quarter Queen found the Blackstone tiring and opened them up in transition getting too many uncontested scores. The Blackstone were forcing their shooting and did not let the offence settle to find the better option. The result was a twenty point run away gap that was never closed.

At last Queens found scores in the key from Kruider and Henry as the Blackstone tired and gave up the space below the basket. Too many open looks for Doliver and McGarahan cost the Blackstone as they scored from the perimeter. Their inside outside play stretched the defence from side to side and the Blackstone failed to cover the gaps. They again tied up McDonald with full court pressure to force the play from the Blackstone and that it did.

The Blackstone could only manage two scores and again their shot selection was poor giving up to the fast breaking Queens’s guards a series of easy scores. This ensured their dominance and allowed them to ease into their twenty point lead.

Trailing 40 – 58 in the fourth was a gap to big for the home team to close. They did match Queens in this quarter basket for basket but the damage was done in the second and third quarter.

Michael Murray contested the key in this quarter and bagged himself 8 points for the Blackstone with some tenacious play. The big centre shot from low left and right and then hooked two over the towering Kruider with a soft touch to close the score to 51 – 65.

The experience of Dolliver for Queens was enough to secure the victory for his team with the big forward shooting three scores in reply to Murray’s from the perimeter and this maintained a twenty point gap.

The Blackstone travel this week to play Letterkenny on Thursday night.